And they're off ...
The riders and rest of the teams are happy to be going I'm sure. It's always a nervous few days, busy with media and last minute details. Once the race gets underway the Tour takes its rhythm.
I was never a big fan of the final few days leading up to the Tour. You have to arrive early about three days before the start. The days seem so long and, while waiting to start, you feel like you might lose your form that you have worked on all year.
Unfortunately there are so many riders that some are bound to have a bad start and in some cases no start. I was bummed to hear that Matt White crashed and was unable to start. I wish him well as I knew him as a tough rider with a good sense of humor. My feeling for the prologue was an Aussie showing. My dark horse pick, Michael Rogers, also had a tough ride going down in the same corner where we almost saw Bobby Julich crash.
The man of the day was Cancellara, who had an incredible ride. Of the Tour favorites, Lance certainly dealt the first psychological blow by taking valuable seconds out of his key rivals with an impressive second place finish.
Tomorrow looks to be a tough stage. I don't think you will see a lot of splits in the peloton. The categorized climbs come early and this is the Tour and the first road stage.
Riders do not give up a wheel easily. Narrow roads, big roads or no roads -- there are always crashes in these early stages. Riders are nervous and fresh and everyone wants, and has orders from their team, to ride in the front.
With the course being challenging we may see a more sane finish favoring a sprinter like Erik Zabel or Baden Cooke (do I have to mention Petacchi?). My dark horse-Danilo Hondo. A strong prologue, he could be dreaming of yellow.
Former pro cyclist Kevin Livingston is in the unique position of being the only rider to have ridden on teams with the three top favorites of the 2004 Tour de France: Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich, and Tyler Hamilton. After retiring in 2002, Kevin started Kevin Livingston Consulting in Austin, Texas. For a complete bio click here