Tour de France Prologue – It Begins!

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The TdF has finally begun and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  For three straight sleep-deprived weeks you won’t have to put up with any more heathen mountain bike posts.  You can’t get any more PRO than the TdF and there won’t be anything to taint the next 23 days.

I won’t be actually seeing a Tour stage until it gets to the Alps, but it sure is nice sitting down at a pub, having a beer, and watching the Prologue live in the middle of the afternoon in the sunshine.  That alone makes it worth being here in Europe.

Tour de France Resources

Since I’m here in France this year I’ll be doing things a little bit differently than most of you and relying on traditional technology such as standing on the roadside, watching on television in the pub, and reading the newspapers.  Luckily in Australia and most elsewhere in the world the TdF has the best coverage out of any bike race on the planet.  SBS One will be broadcasting daily half-hour updates at 7:30am and 6pm for those of you sensible enough not to stay up until 1am every night.   For the hardcore fans the live coverage will be starting at 10pm.  Matt Keenan will be calling the early hours of the race and is always interesting to listen to with his vast knowledge of the sport.

The most fascinating way of watching the Tour these days is by the live SBS Tour Tracker.  You can see exactly what’s going on in the race along with HR and powermeter readings from riders, newsflash posts by Rob Arnold,  route tracking, names of riders in the breaks, etc.  Combine this with watching the race on TV and we’re back in the 21st century with bike racing coverage.  It doesn’t get any better!

Another resource you might be interested in is the iPhone Tour de France app.  Two passionate cyclists from Sydney who created the Giro app with 40,000 downloads also made this one.  I haven’t used it yet but you might want to give it a shot. SBS also has an iPhone app which would be worth checking out.

Last but not least, the RIDE Official Tour Guide has got to be the best resource around for the TdF.  I bought it before I flew to France and it’s been a lifesaver for my planning.  I’m astounded the detail that they’ve managed to cram in.  The amount of work that RIDE puts into their TdF Tour Guide every year is astonishing and I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Results:

I don’t think there were any big surprises in the Prologue today.  Tony Martin is one hell of a talent and I think we’re gonna see him on the podium at the end of this race. He held onto the leading time until Cancellara (the last man starting) knocked him off.  Cancellara was a man on a mission today and rode the 8.9km time trial in 10mins flat.  Unreal.  With last year’s elimination of time bonuses  Cancellara may very well hold onto yellow jersey until stage 6 or 7.  I can’t see Saxobank wasting to much effort defending the jersey at this early stage but Cancellara is strong enough to do it himself.  Personally I think that the mid race and finishing time bonuses make for more exciting racing but Cancellara certainly isn’t complaining.

1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank in 10? 00?

2. Tony Martin Team HTC – Columbia at 00:10

3. David Millar Garmin – Transitions at 00:20

4. Lance Armstrong Team RadioShack at 00:2

5. Geraint Thomas Sky Pro Cycling at 00:23

6. Alberto Contador Astana at 00:27

7. Tyler Farrar Garmin – Transitions at 00:28

8. Levi Leipheimer Team RadioShack at 00:28

9. Edvald Boasson Hagen Sky Pro Cycling at 00:32

10. Linus Gerdemann Team Milram at 00:35

Other Aussies….

14 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia 00:35

23 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  00:39

41 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo Test Team 0:00:49

54 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:50

80 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram 0:00:57

81 Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia

108 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0:01:06

111 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha  0:01:06

118 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team HTC – Columbia 0:01:08

166 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:21

191 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des Jeux 0:01:37

Photos

Tour de France Trivia

During every stage of the Tour we’ll be having a trivia competition.  Cycling Tips’ sponsors will be giving away daily prizes to those who take a shot at answering the questions in the comments section.  If you leave a comment that cracks me up I’ll enter you in the daily draw as well.  In fact, if you leave any insightful, funny or correct trivia answer in the comments I’ll enter you into the draw.  Sorry, but I can only afford postage to Australian residents only.

Today’s prize will be a BMC messenger bag provided by the good Swiss folks from BMC.   I knicked a bunch of other goodies from BMC so stay tuned for more cool stuff.

BTW, in case you were wondering, the whole reason I’m able to be here at the Tour this year is because of BMC.  They invited me to their 2011 product launch here in Grenchen, Switzerland and have been the most amazing hosts anyone could ask for.  More on this whole experience later (it deserves a separate post) but I’ll leave you with a few photos of their new flagship bike called the “Impec“. I can’t wait to write more about it to explain what it’s all about and the new manufacturing process they’ve developed for this model only.  Fascinating!

BMC Impec

Can you find the battery for the Di2?  It’s well hidden…

We got to take these out for a 77km ride in the hills and smash each other.  It wasn’t supposed to be a race but these Italians and Germans don’t know how to ride hills slowly!

Okay, now to the trivia…

Thank you to CT reader and Quiz Master Sam for providing these questions to us.

1. In the 1989 Tour prologue individual time trial in Luxembourg, the previous year’s winner Pedro Delgado was 2 minutes and 40 seconds late for his start time and ended up second last overall by Stage 2. Why did he miss his start?

A. He was in the toilet.
B. Officials insisted he provide a urine sample before the race and he had stage fright.
C. He was warming up in the back streets and got lost.

2. What year did Cadel Evans first win a yellow jersey in the TDF?

A. 2005
B. 2006
C. 2007

3. Who was the first and only Aussie to complete all three Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour De France, Vuelta Espagna) in the same year?

A. Phil Anderson.
B. Neil Stephens.
C. Cadel Evans.


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