Cycling is filled with life lessons.
Sometimes things in life just aren't fair. You think you deserve something and for whatever reason it doesn't happen. This week in cycling we had a bit of that going around.
I'm sure my European readers are well aware of the Amgen Tour of California. Its UCI ranking of 2.HC makes this eight-day stage race a highly desirable event. So desirable for domestic American squads that potential sponsorship is tied to their participation. In the States, the Amgen Tour of California is our Tour de France. It doesn't get the same amount of eye-balls watching it as its big brother in France, but quite a few tune in from across the pond to watch. And with sponsors having an interest in the European market it's important to have a team showcased.
This past week the list of teams invited was made public. The usual suspects made the cut: Omega Pharma-Quick Step for Levi Leipheimer, who will the undisputed leader of that squad; RadioShack-Nissan is bringing defending champion Chris Horner - and the list of invited teams goes on. What's interesting is a little further down the list.
Project 1t4i, Colombia-Coldeportes, Team Exergy and Bontrager-Livestrong appeared on the "save the date" invitation for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California.
Some of these picks were a bit of a surprise. Project 1t4i is a decent squad and deserves a shot - plus two of their main sponsors are Shimano and Felt bikes - both located just 45 minutes from downtown L.A. (of course that time may vary due to traffic on the infamous 405 freeway).
Colombia-Coldeportes could be a spoiler in what many are calling the toughest route yet. Depending on who they bring, the squad could spice up the Mt Baldy stage.
Team Exergy is an interesting pick. They have one marquee rider on the squad - the recently un-retired Freddy Rodriguez. He is guaranteed to mix it up in any of the sprint finishes. And the final stage finishes in the afore mentioned City of Angels, not far from where the sprinter used to call home - the town of Whittier. However how nice that may be, I think Exergy might have gotten the nod due to their attacking style in the Tour of Colorado.
To everyone's surprise the Bontrager-Livestrong Development squad was invited to the Amgen Tour of California. While the team does have a strong affiliation with Lance Armstrong, who in turn is BFF with the Shack squad, it is not legally part of Team RadioShack.
Bontrager-Livestrong director Axel Merckx made it very clear to Cyclingnews.com that there will be zero collaboration between the two teams.
"The Bontrager-Livestrong team is obviously an American-registered team. Separate company. Separate paying agent," said Merckx.
Regardless of their affiliation it was surprising that they were selected for any sporting accomplishments until you look at one of the title sponsors - Livestrong. The Livestrong Foundation is closely aligned with Amgen. From a business standpoint it makes sense that they invite the U-23 squad. It's good publicity for both Amgen and Livestrong. While I feel that