Cancellara Takes Tour Prologue

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara (CSC) in yellow

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara demanded that he be seen as a symbol for a new cycling after scorching the opening prologue here Saturday to grab the Tour de France's fabled yellow jersey.

The CSC rider clocked the only sub nine-minute time from the 189-strong field, beating Germany's Andreas Klöden by 13secs to secure his second prologue win after his victory in Lille in 2004. It was a poignant moment in more ways than one for the reigning world time trial champion, whose solo speed skills played a major role in his victory on the tough Paris-Roubaix one-day classic in 2006.

CSC team manager Bjarne Riis ruled himself out of attending the race due to his recent admission that he had used the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) to win the Tour de France in 1996.

"This yellow jersey represents a new chance for cycling," said the 26-year-old Cancellara from Bern, who alluded to the doping affairs which have left cycling battling for its credibility. "Everyone is aware of the (doping) problems in cycling. But I'm doing this sport to show that I can be an example for the future."

While Astana team rider Klöden gave a glimpse of his form - his team leader Alexandre Vinokourov finished seventh at just 30secs behind Cancellara - American George Hincapie was devastated with his third place. The big New Yorker finished 23sec adrift with home favourite Bradley Wiggins crossing the line in the same time in fourth.

"I'm disappointed, very much so," said Hincapie. "I wanted to win the prologue here and I'd worked very hard for it. But I gave it all I had."

Russian Vladimir Karpets, who finished in a promising sixth place for his Caisse d'Epargne team, admitted Cancellara - and Klöden - were simply a notch above the rest. "My performance wasn't too bad, but Klöden and Cancellara were amazing," said Karpets, who is programmed to help the yellow jersey bid of Alejandro Valverde while aiming for a top finish himself.

"I'm still motivated, and I hope to play a major role in this Tour."

England's pre-race favourite, reigning world and Olympic track pursuit champion Wiggins came over the finish line visibly upset.
He later lamented his failure to claim an historic win on the streets on which he used to cycle as a teenager. "I gave it everything. I thought I'd really had the perfect race. I didn't brake at all throughout. But I couldn't have gone any faster," said Wiggins.

Scotland's David Millar, the prologue winner in 2000, was a little more philosophical after finishing a respectable 13th at 33secs behind Cancellara. "To tell you the truth I didn't really have too many hopes that I could win it today, especially with the condition I've had in the past two months," said the Saunier Duval rider. "I'm happy with my performance, and my time. As I said, I didn't have the greatest of form coming into the race."

The Scot added: "I'm disappointed more for Brad than for me, because I think he really could have done something today. I don't know if he'll get the chance to win another stage. But for me personally, the Tour is far from over. I'll be going for another stage win."

Cancellara, sporting a recent beard - because his lost luggage has not yet arrived - came into the prologue with huge expectations on his shoulders, and admitted he had felt the pressure. "Having the rainbow jersey and being one of the favourites for the
prologue: how could I not feel the pressure?"

But that was lifted in a matter of minutes as he sped his way to the fastest time of the field, including Klöden and Hincapie, at the 4.5km mark. In the end he finished with room to spare, and able to give his watching manager Riis a welcome smile.

"I'm like a Swiss clock," said Cancellara. "I know how to race against the clock, and like all Swiss people, I'm pretty determined."

The yellow jersey, however, may not stay on his shoulders for long. The first and second stages are likely to finish in bunch sprints, giving the likes of Norwegian Thor Hushovd, who is 41secs behind Cancellara, a sniff - if he can manage to claw a few seconds back from intermediate sprints, and grab vital bonus seconds at the finish line.

"The important thing is to have the yellow jersey. I really hope I'll be returning to France with it," finished Cance.

©AFP 2007

 

Prologue results

 

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi ¦ Team CSC) 00:08:50 (53.7 km/h)
2 Andréas Klöden (Ger ¦ Astana) 00:00:13
3 George Hincapie (USA ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:23
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:00:23
5 Vladimir Gusev (Rus ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:25
6 Vladimir Karpets (Rus ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:00:26
7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz ¦ Astana) 00:00:30
8 Thomas Dekker (Ned ¦ Rabobank) 00:00:31
9 Manuel Quinziato (Ita ¦ Liquigas) 00:00:32
10 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:00:32
11 David Zabriskie (USA ¦ Team CSC) 00:00:32
12 José Ivan Gutierrez (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:00:33
13 David Millar (GBr ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:00:33
14 Mikel Astarloza (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:00:33
15 Alberto Contador (Spa ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:35
16 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz ¦ Astana) 00:00:35
17 Cadel Evans (Aus ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:00:36
18 William Bonnet (Fra ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:00:36
19 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:00:36
20 Michael Rogers (Aus ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:37
21 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:00:37
22 Linus Gerdemann (Ger ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:38
23 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita ¦ Astana) 00:00:38
24 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:39
25 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:00:39
26 Levi Leipheimer (USA ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:40
27 Denis Menchov (Rus ¦ Rabobank) 00:00:40
28 Thor Hushovd (Nor ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:00:41
29 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:42
30 Filippo Pozzato (Ita ¦ Liquigas) 00:00:43
31 Markus Fothen (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:00:43
32 Alejandro Valverde (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:00:43
33 Daniele Bennati (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:00:43
34 Antonio Colom (Spa ¦ Astana) 00:00:43
35 Andriy Grivko (Ukr ¦ Team Milram) 00:00:43
36 Bernhard Kohl (Aut ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:00:44
37 Sergio Paulinho (Por ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:44
38 Stefan Schumacher (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:00:45
39 Cristian Moreni (Ita ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:00:45
40 Ronny Scholz (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:00:45
41 Tom Boonen (Bel ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:46
42 Brett Lancaster (Aus ¦ Team Milram) 00:00:46
43 Philippe Gilbert (Bel ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:00:46
44 Laurent Lefevre (Fra ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:46
45 Thomas Geraint (GBr ¦ Barloworld) 00:00:47
46 Stef Clement (Ned ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:47
47 Carlos Barredo (Spa ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:47
48 Egoi Martinez (Spa ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:47
49 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz ¦ Astana) 00:00:48
50 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:48
51 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:00:48
51 Matthieu Sprick (Fra ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:48
53 Kim Kirchen (Lux ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:48
54 Jens Voigt (Ger ¦ Team CSC) 00:00:48
55 Ruben Perez (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:00:48
56 Christophe Moreau (Fra ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:00:49
57 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra ¦ Agritubel) 00:00:49
58 Nick Nuyens (Bel ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:00:49
59 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:49
60 Erik Zabel (Ger ¦ Team Milram) 00:00:50
61 Sven Krauss (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:00:50
62 Robert Hunter (RSA ¦ Barloworld) 00:00:51
63 Sandy Casar (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:00:51
64 Leif Hoste (Bel ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:00:51
64 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:00:51
66 Thomas Voeckler (Fra ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:52
67 Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:00:52
68 Johan Van Summeren (Bel ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:00:52
69 Mark Cavendish (GBr ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:52
70 Bert Grabsch (Ger ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:53
71 Christopher Horner (USA ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:00:53
71 Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa ¦ Discovery Channel Team) 00:00:53
73 Cédric Vasseur (Fra ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:53
74 Martin Elmiger (Swi ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:00:53
75 Christian Vandevelde (USA ¦ Team CSC) 00:00:53
76 Fabian Wegmann (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:00:53
77 Bram De Groot (Ned ¦ Rabobank) 00:00:54
78 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra ¦ Agritubel) 00:00:54
79 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:54
80 Gorka Verdugo (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:00:54
81 Tadej Valjavec (Slo ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:00:54
82 Axel Merckx (Bel ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:54
83 Serguei Ivanov (Rus ¦ Astana) 00:00:55
84 Frederik Willems (Bel ¦ Liquigas) 00:00:55
85 Bernhard Eisel (Aut ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:00:55
86 Patrice Halgand (Fra ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:00:55
87 Alessandro Ballan (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:00:55
88 Oscar Freire (Spa ¦ Rabobank) 00:00:55
89 Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:00:55
90 Iker Camano (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:00:55
91 Charles Wegelius (GBr ¦ Liquigas) 00:00:56
92 Carlos Sastre (Spa ¦ Team CSC) 00:00:56
93 Michael Albasini (Swi ¦ Liquigas) 00:00:56
94 Matteo Tosatto (Ita ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:56
95 Frank Schleck (Lux ¦ Team CSC) 00:00:57
96 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:00:57
97 Dario Cioni (Ita ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:00:57
98 Xavier Florencio (Spa ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:57
99 Daniel Navarro (Spa ¦ Astana) 00:00:57
100 Johann Tschopp (Swi ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:58
101 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa ¦ Rabobank) 00:00:58
102 Bram Tankink (Ned ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:58
103 Murilo Antoniobil Fischer (Bra ¦ Liquigas) 00:00:58
104 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor ¦ Team CSC) 00:00:58
105 Ivan Ramiro Parra (Col ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:01:00
105 Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:00
107 Christian Knees (Ger ¦ Team Milram) 00:01:00
108 Heinrich Haussler (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:01:00
109 Iban Mayo (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:00
110 Robert Förster (Ger ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:01:00
111 Inigo Cuesta (Spa ¦ Team CSC) 00:01:00
112 Julian Dean (NZl ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:01:01
113 Grischa Niermann (Ger ¦ Rabobank) 00:01:01
114 Jose Luis Arrieta (Spa ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:01
115 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:01:01
116 Kjell Carlström (Fin ¦ Liquigas) 00:01:01
117 Stephane Goubert (Fra ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:02
118 Igor Anton (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:02
119 Michael Boogerd (Ned ¦ Rabobank) 00:01:02
120 Manuel Beltran (Spa ¦ Liquigas) 00:01:02
121 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:01:03
122 Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col ¦ Barloworld 00:01:03
123 Daniele Righi (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:01:03
123 Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr ¦ Liquigas) 00:01:03
125 Lilian Jegou (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:01:03
125 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:01:03
127 Paolo Bossoni (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:01:04
128 Marcus Burghardt (Ger ¦ T-Mobile Team) 00:01:04
129 Gert Steegmans (Bel ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:01:04
130 David Canada (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:04
131 Fred Rodriguez (USA ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:01:05
132 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:01:05
133 Marcel Sieberg (Ger ¦ Team Milram) 00:01:05
134 Sylvain Calzati (Fra ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:06
135 Ralf Grabsch (Ger ¦ Team Milram) 00:01:06
136 Gregory Rast (Swi ¦ Astana) 00:01:06
137 Mario Aerts (Bel ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:01:06
138 Simon Gerrans (Aus ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:06
139 Jérôme Pineau (Fra ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:01:06
140 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:06
141 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:01:06
142 Xabier Zandio (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:01:07
143 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:01:07
144 Inigo Landaluze (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:08
145 Cyril Dessel (Fra ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:08
146 Freddy Bichot (Fra ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:08
147 Amets Txurruka (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:08
148 Robbie Mc Ewen (Aus ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:01:09
149 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita ¦ Team Milram) 00:01:09
150 Stéphane Auge (Fra ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:01:09
151 Francisco Ventoso (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:10
152 Steven De Jongh (Ned ¦ Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:01:10
153 Pieter Weening (Ned ¦ Rabobank) 00:01:10
154 Anthony Geslin (Fra ¦ Bouygues Telecom) 00:01:10
155 Enrico Poitschke (Ger ¦ Team Milram) 00:01:10
156 Sébastien Hinault (Fra ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:01:12
157 Nicolas Portal (Fra ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:01:12
157 Patxi Vila Errandonea (Spa ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:01:12
159 Mickaël Delage (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:01:13
160 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:01:13
161 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra ¦ Francaise Des Jeux) 00:01:13
162 Romain Feillu (Fra ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:14
163 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra ¦ Cofidis Credit Par Telephone) 00:01:14
164 Benoit Salmon (Fra ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:15
165 Inaki Isasi (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:16
166 Michael Rasmussen (Den ¦ Rabobank) 00:01:16
167 Jorge Azanza (Spa ¦ Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:16
168 Félix Cardenas (Col ¦ Barloworld) 00:01:18
169 John Gadret (Fra ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:18
170 Ludovic Turpin (Fra ¦ Ag2R Prevoyance) 00:01:18
171 David Arroyo (Spa ¦ Caisse D'Epargne) 00:01:18
172 Anthony Charteau (Fra ¦ Credit Agricole) 00:01:19
173 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:19
174 Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Spa ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:19
175 Claudio Corioni (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:01:19
176 Alexander Efimkin (Rus ¦ Barloworld) 00:01:20
177 Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita ¦ Barloworld) 00:01:20
178 Christophe Rinero (Fra ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:21
179 Stuart O'Grady (Aus ¦ Team CSC) 00:01:23
180 Peter Wrolich (Aut ¦ Gerolsteiner) 00:01:25
181 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita ¦ Barloworld) 00:01:26
182 David De La Fuente (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:26
183 Alberto Ongarato (Ita ¦ Team Milram) 00:01:27
184 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr ¦ Barloworld) 00:01:27
185 Cédric Herve (Fra ¦ Agritubel) 00:01:30
186 Enrico Degano (Ita ¦ Barloworld) 00:01:30
187 Wim Vansevenant (Bel ¦ Predictor - Lotto) 00:01:32
188 Danilo Napolitano (Ita ¦ Lampre-Fondital) 00:01:33
189 Ruben Lobato (Spa ¦ Saunier Duval - Prodir) 00:01:51

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