First of all we really love to be here in California. It's a nice race, really well organized so staff and riders all look forward every year to come here.
I've done almost every year since I started as a sports director the AMGEN Tour of California, except for last year when I went to the Giro. Like riders have highlights in a year, so do Sports Directors, and for me this is my highlight of the year. :-)
It's so extremely different than everything else in Europe. I did european races for 30 years. It's another culture here in California, big roads which are great to ride on. I remember two years ago police Officers warned us that one road would be narrow, but still they were two lanes. Narrow? Hardly!
Coming down to the race we have the young Carlos Verona. He's our GC rider. We'll see how far he can make it in the GC. It's one of the first times he can try and go for his own chances and he can have the full support of the team. We'll have one or two bunch sprints and with Cavendish coming from Turkey, I think he should have a fair chance. But his chances to sprint are limited. Tom Boonen should have his go also, maybe the stage of Santa Barbara.
I think we have good representation for both mountain and flat stages.
The atmosphere in the team is good., First we were in Morgan Hill for a few days visiting our sponsor Specialized and doing some serious windtunnel testing.
It's been very good here and the riders went out every day for 5 to 6 hours training. It was good to spend some time here for the team before the race.
We are ready for it!
EMBEDDED PHOTO ©Tim De Waele/OPQS