Fabian Cancellara of Team Saxo Bank, the reigning world and Olympic champion in the time trial, did not let down those who called him the favorite in today's Tour de France prologue. With only defending Tour champion Alberto Contador starting after him, Cancellara blazed his way over the prologue course in search of the long-standing time of Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia), set just 20 minutes into the start of the day's racing. It was Cancellara's 63rd career victory and a repeat of his prologue win a year ago in Monaco, putting the Swiss back in the yellow jersey for stage 1 on Sunday.
"Was I nervous? Yes and no," Cancellara said as he settled into his yellow jersey. "When you have nice weather in the beginning and it turns to rain that's never nice, but I knew that in Holland the weather can change a lot."
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland pedals to a prologue win in the port city of Rotterdam
AP Photo/Laurent Rebours
Martin's time held on for second place, while David Millar of Garmin-Transitions filled out the prologue podium. Team RadioShack leader and seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong may not have won the prologue but he won the opening mind game against his top rival Contador, beating his former Astana teammate by five seconds. Armstrong finished in a solid fourth place ahead of Geraint Thomas and Contador. Two other Americans, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) and Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) also finished in the top ten.
Cancellara benefitted from his late start to know how his key rivals were performing, including the likes of Lance Armstrong out on the road.
"I don't know if Lance was scared that I was behind him but I had it in my mind to go as fast as possible and... I won't say catch him, but see him," Cancellara said. "For me it was important to be one of the last riders and to have information on the others."
- Fabian Cancellara – Saxo Bank - 10:00
- Tony Martin – HTC-Columbia +00:10
- David Millar – Garmin-Transitions +00:20
- Lance Armstrong - RadioShack +00:22
- Geraint Thomas - Team Sky +00:23
- Alberto Contador - Astana +00:27
- RadioShack 31:25
- HTC - Columbia + 00:01
- Garmin Transitions + 00:02
- Sky Pro Cycling + 00:16
- Astana + 00:20
- Fabian Cancellara - 15 Points
- Tony Martin - 12 Points
- David Millar - 10 Points
Best Young Rider
- Tony Martin - 10:10
- Geraint Thomas + 00:13
- Edvald Boasson Hagen + 00:22
8.9K (5.5 miles) - Saturday July 3
- After two years off, the prologue makes a return to the Tour in Rotterdam
- Other major sporting events hosted by Rotterdam include: The Fortis Marathon, the Red Bull Air Race, the final game of the Euro 2000 football championship won by France, the Davis Cup and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament