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PEZ Rides the Prologue Course!
So what’s it like to actually ride a prologue? I couldn’t fire-up a low-pro, but I did the next best thing and scrounged a lift behind eight year, German T-Mobile stalwart, Mathias Kessler.
This is where the first ’06 leader will be decided…
The start on the main road along the Meuse drops away from the start a little then drags up slightly, the barriers are lined on this fine summer day as the road dips again and Kessler is hitting 54/56 kph, he changes up and its 58/61 kph.
It begins to drag and he hugs the left hand barrier as he loses momentum
despite punching out of the saddle and is down to 32 kph over the top of the
rise. Right and it drops to the roundabout at the bottom of the big climb, he
distances us but I would put his speed through the roundabout at 55 kph.
It’s straight into the climb, steepest at the bottom and he’s on the drops, out of the saddle, the crowd is massive and they cheer anything that moves, despite the encouragement he’s down to 28, 26, 23, 20 kph.
It levels and he accelerates, sits down and gets back on the tri-bars, up to 26, 28, 32 and still it climbs but not as tough and he’s lifting the tempo, 36, 37 kph, hugging the right hand barrier as he forces the gear through the roundabout, it steepens again and he’s losing speed; “allez, allez, allez‚” his DS shouts through the PA but by the top hes down to 22 kph.
The only good thing about this climb is that there are no false summits, the
top is the top, he goes through the Gran Prix de la Montagne line, steers right and drops like a brick.
It drifts right, 52 kph, then tighter right, 64 kph, pedalling all the way and he’s going away from us, drifting left 60 kph as it straightens into the roundabout and drops left, 60 kph as it straightens and gets seriously steep, he drops us again as we come into the red flag for the 90 degree left onto the finish straight.
It drags a little but his momentum takes him up and its level to the finish; he swerves across the line as we turn right off the course.
Matt White (Discovery & Australia) passes us in the opposite direction, he
has just finished and his face is even browner than usual with the effort; then Kessler appears, still breathing hard, 8 minutes 45 seconds; nowhere, 35 seconds off the pace with half the field still to come – just another day at the office!
Results: Giro06 Stage 1 Seraing-Seraing TT 6.2km
1. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 7.50 (47.489 km/h)
2. Bradley Mcgee (Aus) Franзaise des Jeux 0.11
3. Josй E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.13
4. Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5. Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team 0.15
6. Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears 0.16
7. Josй Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile Team 0.17
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.18
10. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 0.19
11. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.20
12. Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.21
13. Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 0.23
14. Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 0.25
15. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
16. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.26
17. Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank 0.27
18. Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC
19. Remmert Wielinga (Ned) Quick Step-Innergetic
20. Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone 0.28
21. Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears 0.29
22. Christophe Brandt (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
23. Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas 0.30