Saturday, July 04, 2009

Stage 1: Monaco - Monaco (ITT) 15.5km

Instead of a traditional prologue, this year's tour started with a surprisingly exciting ITT. Surprising in that I wasn't really sure who would be a favorite, because we all know how well that turned out last year. In the end, it was Cancellara who took the stage, 18 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador. The course was good, just hard enough to make things exciting, but not enough to cause protests like at the Giro. Which, I might add, I hope we don't have any of.

There were some really great things about this stage. But, of course, the highlight for me was the fact that Sylvain Chavanel came in 16th. He finished 11th, but obviously there were others behind him, so it was inevitable that he wouldn't end up there. But that was fine, because he is 16th. No crashes as also good and Bradley Wiggins being in first, even for just a few moments was nice. Also, to see him finish third was pretty great, too.

Of course, there was some crappy stuff about the stage as well. I am not a fan of Astana at all and I was not pleased with their riding. I won't get into the coverage of the stage, because I don't know how much of that is Versus' fault or the world feed's fault, so complaints about not showing Sylvain or the defending TDF champion probably fall on deaf ears. I will complain about the timing of commercials, which was pretty crappy. Luckily the internets provided me with some relief and I got to see Heinrich Haussler start, but never finish. Mostly it's all the Astana crap that gets to me. I don't want them to do well. I know it's petty of me, but I was not happy with the Armstrong hype before the tour and definitely not during the first stage.

Of course, this is par for the course this season, so you'll hear a lot of complaints about it. Especially of Armstrong, god forbid, ends up in yellow. But for now, it's Cancellara in yellow and while I don't like Saxo Bank, I can totally live with that.

Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to write tomorrow. ITT's only do so much and I really prefer short prologues. But this tour is meant to be different, after all, it's bringing back the Team Time Trial. I hope for a great sprint tomorrow. But, for now, here's our official TDF top 10:
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 0:19:32
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:18
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:00:19
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:00:22
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto 0:00:23
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:00:30
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:00:32
8 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - HTC 0:00:33
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:00:37
10 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:00:40

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