Cancellara Wins Tour de France Prologue
Today, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) was as good as his record.
Today, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) was as good as his record. The four-time world time trial champion blitzed over the flat, 6.4-km prologue course in Liege, Belgium in 7:13. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) pipped Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) for second at 0:07.
Brett Lancaster (Orica-GreenEdge) posted the early standard, a 7:24. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) bumped the Australian from the top of the standings before Chavanel took the lead with a 7:20.
For a time, Chavanel looked like a winner. David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), and Andreas Kloden (RadioShack-Nissan) came close but not close enough, and world time trial champion Tony Martin, Chavanel's teammate, was level with the Frenchman at the time check but punctured and saw his chance of winning go down the drain.
Wiggins was 0:06 behind Chavanel at the time check but powered over the second half of the course to take the lead. It was apparent, however, that Wiggins's time would not be the winner because Cancellara led the field at the time check. The Swiss rider, perhaps the best time trialist of his generation, poured on the coal to take the win.
Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC), the last starter, was the only man still on the course. The Australian raised an eyebrow with an unexpectedly poor performance in the Dauphine Libere's time trial, in which he lost 1:44. to Wiggins. Evans, however, limited his losses to the Sky rider to 0:10. "It's not good, but not bad," Evans said of his performance vis-a-vis the man who is his chief rival.
Wiggins was satisfied with his performance. "I'm really happy, the legs felt good and I stayed calm and relaxed," the Briton said. "It's a good start and the main thing was to stay upright, safe and trouble-free - it's nice to get this first day out of the way. Fair play to Fabian, he's the best in the world at what he does and I think he proved that again today."
In the overall, Cancellara leads Wiggins and Chavanel by 0:07. Stage 1 could change this state of affairs. The rolling, 198-km ride from Liege to Seraing will feature five Category 4 climbs, including one at the finish. The finishing climb will probably exclude the pure sprinters and provide opportunities to small groups or individuals who can handle an uphill finish. Who will win? Will Cancellara keep the maillot jaune? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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