Rapid reaction: Spartacus back, Wiggins still on fire, Evans ready, Menchov fools us again, Tejay a future Tour winner, Chavanel and Gilbert primed for stage wins, Nibali on course, Hesjedal still has legs, VDB and Sanchez misfiring.
Cancellara proved he is 110% recovered from his four-crack collarbone injury and arduous recovery. He tore up the 6.4 kilometer Liege course in 7:13 and not even a massive effort by the confident Bradley Wiggins (Sky) could match it. The Brit from Sky finished seven seconds back with a red hot Sylvain Chavanel in third.
Now if you apply the Cedric Vasseur Tour Rule, there are some GC contenders who are already in trouble. The Frenchman and former tour rider now works for Belgian TV covering the race. The other day he was quite specific about the importance of the prologue — especially given the trial trill heavy route — for the overall in Le Grand Shindig.
“Even if it’s just 6km, you will already have the favorites sorted and have an idea of who’s arrived in top shape and who’s not, “said Vasseur. “If you’re there to win the race overall, you must finish in the first 20.”
Now, we’re going going full Vasseur harsh — let’s open that up to first 30 — but still, look over the results and already Vasseur would tell you that Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) should be rather worried with 77th place and he would certainly write off Euskatel’s Samuel Sanchez’ chances at 145th. Man of Orange in slow motion! Same story for Movistar captain Alejandro “Nothing Wrong” Valverde — the Green Bullet not so speedy as he rolled in at 116th place.
Two old diesel engines Levi Leipheimer (80th) and Chris Horner (113th) will need to check the oil and hope the mileage on the odometer will keep turning for three weeks. Worth noting that cousins Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Nicholas Roche (AG2R Mondiale) finished together in 55th and 56th. That’s family, baby.
In out Who’s Really The Boss At Garmin results, Hesjedal came out of the gate fast while Christian Vende Velde was good for 35th and Tom Danielson off the pace in 100th. Canadian top dog. Speaking of Garmin — US Time Trial Champion Dave Zabriskie was the fastest vegan — of course, he was also the only vegan. He tweeted his excitement at being awarded the number 69 for this tour and with perfect symmetry, that’s where he finished.
Cancellara did a long eight year loop out of Liege and back. He won his first Tour prologue in Liege in 2004, beating Lance Armstrong by two seconds. Back in Liege years later and the result is the same. Chapeau, Mr Big Thighs.