Fabian Cancellara Powers to 2010 Tour de France Prologue Win
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the prologue of the Tour de France, with seven-time champion Lance Armstrong finishing an impressive fourth. The American edged out rival Alberto Contador of Spain - the defending champion and pre-race favorite.
started well in this Tour de France. I can be very satisfied with my performance. The weather conditions weren't optimal. I haven't ridden any races since the Giro d'Italia and instead concentrated on training. I can build on this time trial."
Armstrong came into the time trial predicting he wouldn't win it, saying that he's "lost it" in the discipline - one that he had dominated in his record run of Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.
But in his strong performance on Saturday, Armstrong actually appeared to slow down at one point to take a tight turn gingerly - a sign that above all he wanted to avoid a crash that could damage or derail his hopes for an eighth Tour victory.
The only other time trial this year is a 52-kilometer jaunt across southwestern France in Stage 19 - on the eve of the finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
But the layout also features a total of 23 mountain passes in the Alps and Pyrenees, which could play into the hands of Contador, who is considered the best climber.
Cancellara will don the race leader's yellow jersey for Sunday's 223.5-kilometer first stage across wind-swept lowlands from Rotterdam to Brussels.
"The stage on Sunday will be challenging. We know we can expect wind, narrow roads and maybe some rain. The part of the course that goes near to the sea is early in the stage, but we will want to be careful to keep our leaders out of harm's way," Cervelo TestTeam's German Andreas Klier said about tomorrow's stage 1 of the 2010 Tour de France and added "We can expect it to be a bunch sprint, but we must be prudent and avoid crashes or splits in the peloton."
The three-week 2010 Tour de France ends on July 25 in Paris.
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Click here for full prologue results.