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July 07, 2007

Prologue underway

Mikel Astarloza had the best early time with a 9:23.88.

Stuart O'Grady overcooked a left-hander and crashed into some barriers with a little more than 1 kilometer to ride after setting the best time at 5 kilometers.

One thing to watch are the riders' handlebars: VeloNews this morning has a story about some “clarifications” to UCI rules that have caused some riders to switch their aero bars. At the Dauphiné Libéré, officials seemed to be focused on whether the rider had more than 2 points of contact with the bars, but now they're more concerned with the angle of the extensions, which they want essentially parallel to the ground. Some riders were experimenting with variations on the more steeply angled position (the “Praying Landis”) that Floyd Landis used last year.

Dave Zabriskie sets out in the Stars and Stripes. By the way, he's got “These colors don't run” printed on the inside of his left sleeve. You can see it in this photo (look at the large version). Zabriskie is fastest at the time check. Coming to the finish now, and Zabriskie sprints to the line at 9:22.98. I don't think that will last.

Right behind Zabriskie is Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Karpets, and the former white jersey is very strong: 9:16.77 takes over the lead. I thought Z's time would last longer than that...

Robbie McEwen looks like he's out for a club ride, and comes in at 9:59.15.

Discovery Channel is wearing jerseys with big green stripes across the arms and back, as part of Discovery Channel Goes Green. The team will plant trees in Mendocino to offset the team cars' carbon emissions, and an additional 30 trees for each stage win or leader's jersey a Disco rider wears.

Speaking of the Discos, here comes Russian TT champion Vladimir Gusev, whose intermediate time check was even with Karpets. At the line, he's going really hard, and he moves into the lead with a 9:15.99. Russians sit 1st and 2nd.

José Ivan Gutierrez, the Spanish TT champion, barely clears the barricade that claimed O'Grady earlier, and finishes in 9:23.66, putting him 4th with lots of talent yet to ride.

Valverde is the first of the race favorites to set out. He looks fantastic on his bike -- he's got a very quiet upper body, but going like hell below. He's 9 seconds down at the time check, and he finishes in 9:33.40. That's an OK start for Valverde.

Manuel Quinziato of Liquigas is Top 5 for now with a 9:22 and change.

Andreas Klöden comes through the checkpoint in 5:13 -- that's 8 seconds faster than 2nd-place Vladimir Gusev!

And here comes Klöden to the line, and he takes the lead with a 9:03.29! That's 52 km/hr.

George Hincapie sets off. He's got his work cut out for him. He's 2nd at the checkpoint, 7 seconds behind Klöden. He's going hard for the line, but he cant' match Klöden with a 9:13.75, 2nd for now.

Millar is on the course, and 1 minute behind is Alexandre Vinokourov. Millar goes hard, sprinting out of the start house, and the 500,000+ fans roar for the Scot.

And Wiggins is off, pushing a bigger gear than Millar, and drawing a bigger cheer from the thick crowds.

Millar comes in at 9:23.60, which will be outside the top 10. Vinokourov is next in, and he's charging, out of the saddle, to finish in 9:20.47. That's 5th for now, possibly to slip.

Wiggins is 3rd at the time check, 8 seconds back. Klöden has really scorched it today. Wggins is coming to the line, and won't catch Klöden, but maybe Hincapie -- here he comes in 9:13.92, a split-second behind Hincapie.

There goes world TT champ Cancellara, sporting the rainbow stripes. Leipheimer isn't in the top 5 at the time check. Michael Rogers sets out, a triple world champion in the time trial.

Leipheimer finishes in 9:30.34, 22nd with some good riders to go. That probably will drop to around 25th by the end of the day.

Cancellara hits the check at 5:07 -- 7 seconds faster than Klöden!

Cadel Evans comes in at 9:26.05, with Cancellara in sight behind him. Here comes Cancellara, hammering it all the way to the line, and he sets an unbelievable 8:50.74!

Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2007 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink

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Comments

Unbelievable! indeed for Cancellera's time.

This guy is doping. No doubt about it. And CSC should be tossed out of the race when he is caught.

Posted by: Insider at Jul 7, 2007 11:50:00 PM