Cancellara Wins Tour Prologue
Fabian Cancellara (CSC) has drawn first blood at the Tour de France. The world time trial champion dominated a world-class field in
After days of rains and floods, the sun greeted the 189 starters and the more than one million people who lined the roads. William Bonnet (Credit Agricole) established the early standard with a 9:26, but Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) eventually bested the Frenchman with a 9:24. Stuart O?Grady (CSC) was on his way to taking the lead when he crashed on one of the course?s last turns. The Paris-Roubaix champion remounted and finished 179th at 1:23.
David Zabriskie (CSC) rode 0:01 faster than Astarloza to take the lead, but moments later, Tour de Suisse champion Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d?Epargne) bettered the American?s time by 0:06. Thirty minutes after Karpets took the lead, his countryman Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) pipped him by 0:01.
Andreas Kloden, who along with Alexander Vinokourov is one of Astana?s coleaders, set a new standard by 0:13. British hopes Bradley Wiggins (Francaise des Jeux) and David Millar (Saunier Duval) tried to better Kloden?s time but failed before their compatriots. General classification men Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) and Cadel Evans (Predictor) tried hard but could not get close to Kloden?s mark, the American finishing 26th at 0:40 and the Australian finishing 17th at 0:36.
Cancellara and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d?Epargne) were the last two finishers. Cancellara gave notice that he intended to win with a 5:07 at the 4.6-km checkpoint. This was 0:07 faster than Kloden?s time. The Swiss extended his lead to 0:13 at the finish. Pereiro, who stands to become the 2006 Tour winner some time after the 2007 Tour is finished, was still on the course, but he is no time trialist. The Spaniard finished 21st at 0:37.
Cancellara was a jubilant, patriotic winner. ?For the British riders, sorry,? he said. ?But I hope tomorrow is another Swiss day for Roger Federer in
Stage 1 should see Cancellara remain in yellow. The rolling, 203-km run from