The United States’ premiere pro-cycling stage race – the Tour of California (ToC) – starts in Pasadena Sunday, at 1pm PST (4pm EST). Those of you who are suffering premium subscriptions along with me know where to get it, but those of you who want to follow along with the live action can also head to the ToC site and click on “Adobe Tourtracker” button (in fact, those of you who don’t give a damn about cycling, but dig tech, might want to check it out. Seriously cool web app.).

If you get into it, and want to talk about the race, join my friends over at PodiumCafe (a community that runs the gamut from pro racers to couch cheerers). If you’ve never given pro-cycling a thought, this might be a good opportunity to check it out for the first time. The teams are strong, and as much as I can’t stand Dave Towle (the race announcer), he does a good job of explaining what’s happening and why it matters to the race. If you’re more of a reality-tv drama fan, well, there’s always Rock Racing, the question of whether or not American star Tyler Hamilton will start, and what the Lion King himself – Mario Cipollini – will show up wearing at the start line (no, seriously).

Update: Rock Racing will start sans Botero, Sevilla, and Hamilton.  For an explanation of this – along with most anything else interesting that goes on at the ToC – check this guy out.   Also, probably time for me to throw into the links again.  A fantastic alternative look at the sport.  As best I can tell it’s purely a labor of love, and it shows.