Zabriskie Wins Stage 1 of Tour
David Zabriskie (CSC) has drawn first blood in the Tour de France.
David Zabriskie (CSC) has drawn first blood in the Tour de France. The Salt Lake City, Utah native stunned himself by winning Stage 1, a rolling, 19-km individual time trial from Fromentine to Noirmoutier-en-l?Ile, in 20:51. Six-time defending champion Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) finished second at 0:02, and Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile) took third at 0:53.
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Only Armstrong was a threat to Zabriskie. In fact, most riders lost so much time to Armstrong that some observers think that the Tour is just about over. Floyd Landis (Phonak) was 1:00 behind the man from Austin. Armstrong caught Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), who started one minute ahead of him, with four km left and went on to outdo the 1997 Tour winner by 1:06. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), whom some had picked as a contender, was 0:05 slower than Ullrich. Ivan Basso (CSC) finished 1:24 behind Armstrong.
Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) set the early standard. The Hungarian posted a 21:50, a time that lasted for less than half an hour. Zabriskie then bettered Bodrogi?s mark by 0:59.
Many good time trialists made attempts on Zabriskie?s mark. Vinokourov, world time trial champion Michael Rogers (Quick Step), Bobby Julich (CSC), Leipheimer, and Landis all came up short. Armstrong and Ullrich, the last and next-to-last starters, respectively, took their shots.
Ullrich never got near Zabriskie?s pace. Armstrong, however, was only 0:03 behind the CSC rider at the 9.4-km checkpoint. The Texan led the man from Salt Lake City by 0:03 at the 14.9-km checkpoint and appeared to be headed for the win. Armstrong, however, faltered?relatively?in the final km, and Zabriskie took the victory and the maillot jaune .
Zabriskie established himself as a rider to watch by winning the Under 23 Grand Prix des Nations. In 2003, however, an SUV hit him and broke his left leg and left arm. In March of last year, a crash at the Redlands Classic set Zabriskie back again. The American persevered, however, and won the U.S. Time Trial Championship in June. He followed up that victory with two stage wins in the Vuelta a Espana. In May 2005, Zabriskie won a stage of the Giro d?Italia. CSC head man Bjarne Riis has described Zabriskie as ?a weird guy but fast on the bike.? Click here to read our recent interview with Zabriskie.
In the overall, Zabriskie leads Armstrong by 0:02 and Vinokourov by 0:53. Stage 2 will not change this state of affairs. The flat, twisting, 181.5-km run from Challans to Les Essarts should end in a bunch sprint. Who will win it? Robbie McEwen (Davitamon)? Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)? Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!