Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann has returned from the California spring to the German snow, and although he says, "I had fun in America," he didn't really enjoy all of it. Shortly before the start of the Tour of California, he came down with a fever and stomach bug. "How can a little fever weaken you so much, I thought to myself on the first stage as I fell behind with the three Mexicans after only a few kilometres and had to fight to catch up. To be honest, I have to thank those guys for taking me with them to the finish line."
Wegmann, who won the mountain jersey in the 2004 Giro d'Italia, struggled until the time trial ("which was more or less a rest day for me") and then began to feel better. In the fifth stage "there was unfortunately one faster to the finish in Santa Barbara than I: George Hincapie won the sprint against me and I had no chance.
"And now comes a little cyclist's logic: I had much better chances to win a day later, when I finished fifth! I attacked one kilometre before the finish. I looked back: 50, 60 meters, nobody jumps, nobody can come with me. But the finish is only at the finish line. Unfortunately, four sprinters were there before me. In the end I was short by only 20 meters - that bugged me and I was very upset."
Overall though, Wegmann was pleased with the race itself. "A good public turnout made this first edition of the tour a successful cycling event with perspective. Most of the viewing public didn't have any idea of the rules, tactics, teams or European riders...but they were nevertheless very enthusiastic and always said that we had done a 'good job!'"