I made it to the Radisson Riverfront Hotel in Augusta shortly before they closed the door for the big press conference. Obviously this was a momentus event, as advertised.
There was a press conference before Lance Armstrong spoke. A group of cyclists, representing a cross-section of the Tour de Georgia teams, appeared to answer media questions, including:
- Ben Brooks of Jelly Belly-Pool Gel
- Gord Fraser of Health Net Presented by Maxxis
- Bobby Julich of Team CSC
- Floyd Landis of Phonak Hearing Systems
- Levi Leipheimer of Gerolsteiner
- Nathan O'Neill of Navigators Insurance
- Saul Raisin of Credit Agricole
- Andrea Tafi of Saunier Duval-Prodir
This press conference was funny because there was a perceptible lack of focus in the questions and answers. Floyd Landis tried to head fake the media by suggesting that Lance would continue to ride for the foreseeable future. Andrea Tafi gave a long answer in Italian to a question about finishing his career here in Georgia. The translation, provided by another rider on the podium, was quite short. It was like a scene from the movie Airplane.
Bobby Julich was the most articulate athlete on the panel, providing thoughtful answers to questions about whether America could produce another generation of cycling stars to replace people like himself and Lance as they retire in the near future.
Technology has become the achilles heel of Operation Gadget coverage. I was unable to get my laptop on to the wireless network during the press conference, so I borrowed an IBM Thinkpad from the Tour de Georgia office staff to file today's reports.
The Treo 650 has proven to be amazingly useful. I have been able to keep up with email using it. I even posted the first version of the Lance Armstrong retirement article using the Treo. I couldn't really blog the press conference live, but I got an article up before he stopped speaking.