Do you have some sea salt on hand? Okay, pop a grain into your hand.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can report that there is talk of a country-spanning Tour of America being planned for 2008. This web site has preliminary information about the race. The race is said to have 27 stages that will be contested over 30days. It would start in New York and finish up on the west coast, winding through as many as 22 states. They seem to be tying it into 9/11 as they are trying to start close to that date and the first stage is said to complete at Ground Zero.
They are offering $11 million in prize money, with $1 million going to the overall winner. They expect to invite the top teams in the world to come to the race.
I'm all for this. I'm ready to sign up and volunteer, as it looks like a stage will be passing right through my area.
Joe Lindsey, writer of the Boulder Report blog at Bicycling.com is thinking "What the... ?"
There are some things that cast more than a little doubt in my mind:
- As mentioned by Velonews , the proposed dates would put it directly into conflict with the Vuelta, the Tour of Missouri and the Worlds. I find it hard to believe that teams will give up their "A" teams to go to an unknown race in the States.
- From their front page: ".... Some of the very best of this elite group in the world today hail from the United States. The most famous cyclist in the world is still Lance Armstrong an American. Unfortunately there is not a large enough cycling event in this country worthy of assembling the worlds best talents most of whom are Americans. Isn't it time to bring such an event to this vast country so Americans in this country can experience and admire close up the amazing talents and achievements of our own." There are enough mistatements and grammatical errors in these 4 sentences to cast some doubt on their professionalism.
- No mention whatsoever of a presenting sponsor, or who will be ponying up the prize money.
- No "official" web site yet under aqusports.com
- No one listed under their race staff seems to have any large scale stage race experience.
- Aqu Sports is headquartered in NC. The current web site is run out of Illinois. The race director is based out of San Francisco.
I'm excited about the possibilities. Stay posted for updates.