Fabian Cancellara, the Swiss time trial champion and overall time trial specialist was expected to win
today’s prologue being held in Liege, Belgium, and so he did with a crushing seven-second win over the second best time set by Bradley Wiggins.
British Sky Team rider Wiggins who is being bandied by the media as the rider most likely to win this year’s Tour demonstrated spectacular speed near the finish, a good sign for the multi-stage Tour prospects. It remains to be seen if he can finesse the mountain stages to make the top three in Paris on July 22.
Defending 2011 champion Cadel Evans showed his shape for the coming 19 stages in the Tour by making it into the top 15 finalists.
Two riders who showed aggressiveness in last year’s Tour, French National Champion rider Sylvain Chavanel came in third and Tejay van Garderen fourth. Edvald Boasson Hagen came in fifth, proving that he will continue to upset the top 10 in 2012.
German National Champion Tony Martin who was favored for a top-10 finish suffered a technical mishap in the take-off and lost 20 seconds, dashing his hopes for any kind of placement.
Wiggins crossed the line a half-second faster than Chavanel with an average speed of 53.2 kilometers per hour.
Though the 6.4 km time trial being held here for the second time will not predict the overall winner of the Tour this year, a bad time in the first stage could severely limit the possibility for a good final
time, especially since there are a total of three time trials in this year’s race, including the decisive 19th stage before Paris.
Cancellara is now in the Yellow Jersey. All bets are
on to see if he can hold onto it tomorrow when the Tour hits the 198-km stage in the hilly Ardennes. Top finishers favored for tomorrow are Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale,) Simon Gerrans, (Orica-Greenedge,) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Overall Classification After Prologue