Saturday, July 4, 2009

2009 Tour de France - Stage one


Pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won the opening time trial at the Tour de France with another dominate ride in the 15km loop around Monaco. The big Swiss rider set a time of 19-32, beating all the previous times by huge margin to take the first yellow jersey of the 2009 Tour de France.

Alberto Contador (Astana) finished second at 19-50, 18 seconds slower, beating Britain's Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) by a single second.

Cancellara was only third fastest at the time split at the top of the climb, in the same time as Wiggins, but dived down the descent and then blasted to the finish. It is the third time he wins the opening time trial at the Tour de France after success in Liege in 2004 and london in 2007.

"After my ride in the Tour de Suisse I knew that it's be difficult for the other to beat me if I had a good day," Cancellara said.
"This is for me, for my family, for my wife and my daughter. I'm very proud of what I've done."

As predicted the testing 15km time trial caused some significant time gaps between the overall contenders. Andreas Kloden (Astana) was fourth, just four seconds behind Contador, Cadel Evans (Silence) was fifth, five seconds down on Contador.
However the big losers were Denis Menchov (Raboank), who lost more than minute to his rivals, and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) who lost 40 seconds.

Lance Armstrong was one of the first riders to start the time trial and got lots of cheers. However he still hasn't refound his high cadence pedaling action and set a slightly disappointing time of 20-12. He was fastest for a while, but then Tony Martin (Columbia) beat him by seven seconds and team mate Levi Leiphemier set a time of 20-03, which was good enough for sixth on the day.

Armstrong eventually finished 10th but was not too upset: "I didn't have any big illusions. I didn't expect to win or take the jersey. I didn't expect a super, super performance but relative to Levi and Tony martin, both who are specialists, it's not bad," he said.

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