If you're looking to escape the drama of your own life this weekend (and who doesn't need that from time to time) turn your gaze to California where the Amgen Tour of California begins today. The eight-day stage race kicks off the 2009 cycling season and this year, there are plenty of reasons to watch.
It begins with the man who made cycling somewhat of known commodity in the American sporting world -- Lance Armstrong. In a press conference before the Tour began he had some interesting words for a European journalist who in a radio report called doping and Armstrong a "cancer on the sport of cycling." It wasn't the doping allegations that rubbed Armstrong the right way but the choice of words to call it a "cancer" on the sport after his own bout with the disease and efforts to raise money for research.
And if the saga of Lance bores you, there is the return of American Floyd Landis after a two-year suspension for testing positive for a performance enchancing drug after winning the Tour de France in 2007. Landis fought the testing procedures and the ban but failed in his appeals -- both legally and in the court of public opinion.
If you're looking for a good primer to the drama and dirt check out Jim Caple's piece on ESPN.com which gives you a good synopisis of the soap opera known as professional men's cycling.
Coverage of the Tour of California begins tonight on Versus.
I'm hoping to record some of the coverage to watch while I'm on the trainer. Meanwhile, I'll be suffering on the run today as I tackle the Lockport Y-10 -- a 10-mile race on a hilly and open course. Cycling in California sounds so much better today. Drama included.