Prologue: Strasbourg ITT

[Strasbourg - Strasbourg , 7.1km]

Thor! I never thought that OLN host Al Trautwig would get a pick right, but he outdid the followers of the conventional wisdom like myself who thought that Zabriskie would ace this one. This probably won't be the last stage that Hushovd adds to his tally -- there are plenty of opportunities in the opening week for him to outsprint the pack. It might have even been Landis competing for the top time on the day if it weren't for the fact that he lost about eight or nine seconds at the start house. He arrived late because they decided to change one of his tires at the last minute because of cuts that could have lead to a flat.

I enjoy watching the prologue: it can tell you quite a lot about how the Tour is going to shape up. Given the emphasis on long time trials this Tour, a prologue performance is an important indicator. Lets look at the standings:

1 Thor Hushovd, 8.17.00 (51.43 km/h)
2 George Hincapie, 0.00.73
3 David Zabriskie, 0.04.21
5 Alejandro Valverde, 0.04.92
8 Paolo Savoldelli, 0.08.02
9 Floyd Landis, 0.09.26
12 Tom Boonen, 0.11.21
14 Cadel Evans, 0.13.24
29 Bobby Julich, 0.18.84
32 Yaroslav Popovych, 0.20.02
36 Levi Leipheimer, 0.21.60
49 Jose Azevedo, 0.24.90

Some observations:

  • Valverde is living up to his odds-on-favorite status. With a top five prologue time trial and his excellent climbing ability, he can get seconds out of his competitors any which way.
  • Landis, Hincapie, and Savoldelli also stood out with their strong prologues (subtract eight seconds off of Landis' time). Hincapie should be a protected rider after a performance like that and Savoldelli might get a little wind shelter as insurance.
  • Boonen is in great position to grab a yellow jersey
  • Was is the two-year-absense or the lack of performance-enhancing drugs that was responsible for Millar's below-expected performance?
  • I'm still holding out hope for a Zabriskie yellow jersey after the Stage 7 time trial
  • Leipheimer's time wasn't bad, but it doesn't scream 'future Tour winner'


Prediction stats: * My prediction: Zabriskie first, Hincapie second * Actual: Zabriskie thrid, Hincapie second

Pseudo-live coverage

I have to head off an do a quick bike race on 2 hours sleep, but I wanted to make sure and file my prologue prediction: Zabriskie 1st, Hincapie 2nd. Some say that the streets are too windy for Zabriskie; we shall see.

... and I'm back ...

I'm watching this stage a bit late because of the time trial I did this morning -- nothing like a bit of time trialing pain to identify with the riders on the TV. I'm going to keep this pseudo-live log short for this stage to catch up on my sleep, which was actually only one hour.

I guess the streets were too windy for Zabriskie, but I never thought Hushovd would win the day. All of us will have to wonder how Landis' day would have been had he not lost 8 seconds at the start.

related articles: Tour de France 2006
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