Cancellara Wins 2010 Tour Prologue
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has won the prologue of the 2010 Tour de France.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has won the prologue of the 2010 Tour de France. The world time trial champion powered over the flat, 8.9-km circuit in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 10:00. Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) finished second at 0:10, and David Millar (Garmin) took third at 0:20.
Martin set the early standard. On an intermittently rainy day, The German time trial champion posted a 10:10 in dry conditions. For much of the day, his time appeared to be a winner. Time trialists such as Millar and Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) finished 0:20 and 0:22, respectively, behind Martin. Defending champion Alberto Contador (Astana), a climber who has become a good time trialist, finished sixth at 0:27. Many riders rode conservatively to avoid a Tour-ending crash in the rain.
But not Cancellara. The Swiss rider posted the fastest split of the day en route to victory. After the stage, when the UCI scanned Cancellara's bicycle for a battery-powered motor, he said, "You better scan me because I am the motor."
As was noted earlier, many riders, particularly Tour hopefuls, contented themselves with riding reasonably fast times without risking crashes in the rain. World road race champion Cadel Evans (BMC) finished 23rd at 0:39, while Bradley Wiggins (Sky), who finished fourth overall last year, took 77th at 0:56. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), who was last year's runner-up, finished 122nd at 1:09. As Wiggins put it, "The prologue is so insignificant in the three weeks. "It's seconds here, and it's going to be minutes in three weeks' time."
In the overall, Cancellara leads Martin by 0:10 and Millar by 0:20. Stage 1 will not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 223.5-km run from Rotterdam to Brussels, Belgium will pass through Meise, Belgium to honor the 65th birthday of Eddy Merckx, history's greatest cyclist. Crosswinds will almost certainly split the peloton into echelons. Look for Cancellara, the GC contenders, and the sprinters to be in the first echelon. Expect a sprinter to win the cavalry charge at the finish. Which one will it be? Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam)? Oscar Freire (Rabobank)? Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!