Rabon Takes Prologue of Romandy Tour
Frantisek Rabon (Columbia) has drawn first blood in the Tour of Romandy. The Czech time trial champion rode the flat, 3.1-km course in Lausanne in 3:44. Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) finished second at 0:02, and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) took third at 0:03.
Jussi Veikkanen (Francaise des Jeux) set the early standard with a 3:48. For a while, the time looked like a possible winner. Rabon, however, took the lead with his 3:44.
The Columbia man's time withstood the favorites' assaults. Casar eventually posted his runner-up time, while Valverde and Tyler Farrar (Garmin) took third and fourth, respectively. Roman Kreuzinger, Rabon's teammate, finished fifth, and Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) took sixth. Veikkanen settled for seventh.
The day's big surprise was Fabian Cancellara's (Saxo Bank) performance. The Swiss finished 11th when he was expected to win. The Olympic time trial champion's problem might have been his new bike, which he rode for only the second time in the prologue. Do not expect his performance to be a harbinger.
Rabon surprised everyone, including himself, with his victory. "When I got the fastest time, I sat down and wondered which of the last guys off, maybe Cancellara, maybe Mark [Cavendish, Rabon's teammate], would beat it. This race is very much for the guys who are preparing for the Tour of Italy, and I thought that one of them would have a better chance." The Columbia man added that in retrospect, he should have had more confidence because he had shown good form during the last month.
In the overall, Rabon leads Casar by 0:02 and Valverde by 0:03. Stage 1 will test Rabon. The 176.2-km ride from Montreux to Fribourg will feature three categorized climbs, two of which will be Category 1 ascents. Both of these will be in the second half of the stage. Will the Czech climb well enough to keep his yellow jersey? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!