It was cold in Blairsville - in the morning, my car was covered with frozen hail, and the bitterly cold wind was still blowing. The DC team bus was mobbed at the start, and when Lance came out, people chased after him, running at full speed. I took a couple of shots of him being chased. It’s actually a little scary to see - it’s a wonder he doesn’t get knocked down and trampled.
I took off and headed for the finish - it was a long, slow trip with all the traffic. I headed in the blocked-off exit to the race right behind Dan Osipow, so the State Police let me through, too. One illegal U-turn and a couple of blocks of driving where I wasn’t supposed to be, another set of security guards, and I was parked right in the Media parking lot. The finish area was packed.
I shot from around the first turn after the start/finish line, and though I missed the final sprint, I got to see and shoot a very touching interchange between Lance and Tom Danielson right after the finish. Lance and the guys came back to the podium for the Best Team Award, and they had fun with the champagne, spraying the crowd - Chechu even had a swig of it... Tom was just grinning from ear to ear the whole time. All in all, a good race, but sad to say goodbye to Lance for American races. Also, a goodbye for Andrea Tafi, who is retiring this year. He received the Most Aggressive Rider Award. Over and over again, he waved and blew kisses to the loudly cheering crowd - suddenly his face became solemn - he quickly put on his sunglasses to hide his emotions and left the stage.