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The Rory Sutherland Tour of California diary

San Francisco may be a long way away from the streets of Canberra, Australia, where Rory Sutherland spent his childhood, but the 24 year-old feels right at home there with his HealthNet presented by Maxxis squad. The 2004 Australian Under 23 National Champion will keep Cyclingnews readers up to date every day on his and the team's progress in the Tour of California.

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Tasting asphalt in downtown Santa Rosa

Well, well, well, after the highs of day one, come the lows of day two. I won't whine too much about it all. So I'll give a short run down of the day's events.

Up and down all day, strong winds and an amazing amount of first race day nervousness. Let me run down how the nervousness works. I know it's a totally normal thing on the first road stage of a tour, and especially at pretty much the biggest race of the year so far. That being said, today was pretty off-tap to be honest. Riders left and right, hooks, punctures, bumps, potholes, etc. Ah well that's all part of the game.

The day ended in a fairly spectacular manner. Not taking anything away from Brownie who nailed the stage [win]; there was one massive pile up across the line with two laps to go. Seriously, this has got to be one of the biggest chain reaction falls I've seen for a long time! Someone went down in the first ten riders, and then "Boom!" I'm down, Ryder's down, Karl's down. And that's just mentioning the HealthNet boys on the floor. I honestly think there were like 60+ riders on the floor. Then, as per usual, after the fall comes the chaos of riders scraping themselves off the floor, broken wheels, broken bones, broken bikes and mechanics everywhere!

So, the end story was a chase to get back in, and no.... Apparently I'm not super human and can't chase down a racing bunch. Who would have thought? As the results stand, it doesn't look great for the day. However, I think the Race Jury might have a look and try and set things right by tomorrow's stage.

Plan for stage 2: Don't bite the dust again!

Stats for the days racing for Team HealthNet Presented by Maxxis:
Riders down in the last ten kilometres: Five!
Skin off the boys: Not a lot, but some good bruises will come out in the coming days.
Broken wheels: Five. (Apparently wheels don't mix too well with pedals and other bikes.)

As you can see, it was all good times! Anyway, that's enough for today; I need to go wrap myself up in cotton wool for the night. Tomorrows another day!


PS. No photos for today as I'm sure you can find enough from the photographers we decided to crash right in front of. And, there were no quotes for the day. Most of them were not printable; Russ in his northern monkey language, and Karl with his Southern Tassy Devil dialect.