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'Chasing Legends,' a cycling movie worth seeing

May 16, 2010 |  2:28 pm

On the eve of the Amgen Tour of California, several hundred cycling fans gathered for a screening of a new cycling film, "Chasing Legends." It was shown at Sacramento's Crest Theatre on Saturday night, and despite rather cheesy opening and closing sequences that featured a modern-day kid in sepia tones as if he were watching the Tour de France back in the day, it was a gripping movie.

It relives HTC-Columbia during the 2009 Tour de France, and the obvious star is Mark Cavendish, the cocky sprinter who won six stages and chastised others during the race who didn't take chances. But also compelling was Saxo Bank rider Jens Voigt, the well-spoken German who had a horrific crash in which his head bounced several times on the pavement. Voigt, who was in attendance, said he didn't remember the accident and didn't want to.

HTC-Columbia team leaders Brian Holm and Rolf Aldag, who drove the main team car, show comedic talent in the film. When they're done with this cycling thing, perhaps they can try comedy clubs.

A nice job was done interspersing educational snippets, showing what the mechanics do, the chefs, the soigneurs, without seeming preachy. You will come away with a bit of an understanding about why that crazy neighbor of yours who puts on his spandex and hops on his bike every day is so enthralled with the Grand Tours.

So far, the movie is available on DVD. It also will be shown in a theater at each finish city during this week's Amgen Tour of California.

-- Diane Pucin