i was only able to catch the last 30-40 minutes of this brutal-looking stage, but francisco mancebo [rock racing] took hold of the list of tour of california favorites, wrung it out, and tossed it in the corner like a wet towel yesterday when he rode off the front to stay warm, and didn't look back.
macebo proved that he deserved to leader's jersey when--after being alone ALL day long in the cold, miserably heavy rain--he was caught by vincent nibali [liquigas] and jurgen van de walle [quickstep]. but, despite times being taken three laps earlier, the honour of the win was on the line, and mancebo nailed his award of merit by attacking under the overpass, climbing away from his challengers to win the sprint to the line.
astana did their best to limit damage, shedding most of the other former GC contenders, and have chris horner to thank for keeping defending champ leipheimer as close as he is [@ 67 seconds].
perhaps this shows that tyler's victory in last fall's us pro road race wasn't a total fluke, eh?
nice to see that these teams are going to have to turn their strategies upside down now for the rest of the week.
it's going to be one hell of a race season, boys and girls. stay tuned...