Hushovd Wins Tour de France Prologue
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) has drawn first blood at the Tour de France.
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) has drawn first blood at the Tour de France. The Norwegian blitzed over the flat, 7.1-km prologue course in Strasbourg to win the event in 8:17. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) finished second 0.73 seconds behind Hushovd, and David Zabriskie (CSC) took third at 0:04.
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Ralf Grabsch (Phonak) set the early standard with an 8:31. Grabsch?s time held for about 45 minutes before Sebastien Lang (Gerolsteiner) eclipsed it with an 8:21. The German time trial champion?s time stood for nearly two hours. Then, Hushovd crossed the finish line with an 8:17.
Hushovd?s time did not figure to be the winner because the Tour?s best riders had not started. The Norwegian?s time, however, withstood assaults by some of the fastest men in the peloton. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne) fell short with an 8:21. Floyd Landis (Phonak) lost about 0:10 when his team mechanic discovered a cut tire just before the start and changed it on the spot; despite the mishap, the American managed an 8:26. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), a good time trialist for whom prologues are a little short, clocked an 8:38.
David Zabriskie (CSC), the winner of last year?s Tour prologue, was 0:01 behind Hushovd at the 3.7-km checkpoint, but that was as close as the American got to winning the prologue. Christophe Moreau (Ag2r) posted an 8:30, and world time trial champion Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) clocked an 8:23, which was good, but not good enough to win.
Hincapie was the last man with a chance to beat Hushovd. The American was 0:01 behind the Norwegian at the 3.7-km checkpoint. Hincapie, however, came up short by less than ? of a second.
Stage 1 will be ridden in and near Strasbourg. The stage will be flat and should end in a cavalry charge. Who will win it? Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)? Hushovd? Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!