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TDF06: Hushovd Thunders To Yellow
As big a surprise as today’s winner, the Tour de France has finally started and the bike race is on. Credit Agricole’s Thor Hushovd stormed to a hair’s-breadth win over George Hincapie, on a windy and technical course. PEZ-Man Ed Hood was roadside for all the action…

I’ve sat and banged away at word processor keys for long enough – I need to see some bike racing.

It’s not far down to the start, but it’s damn hot out there and whilst I have three hats in the car, I aint got one on my bald head, still what’s a bit of sunstroke if you want to see the best race in the world?

There’s Millar, circling, trying the tri-bar position, focussing; riders and team officials are shaking his hand and patting his back.

Wiggins circles too, but the two ignore each other, no Xmas cards then guys?
Millar is away, so I head across to start of the finish straight with my watch at the ready.

The first rider I see is Carlos Sastre, despite all that CSC wind tunnel stuff, he’s no tester, and it shows, under-geared and going nowhere.

Savoldelli looks good though, way-up on Sastre, remember ‘Savo’ won the Giro prologue, but this isn’t technical enough for him.

It’s really windy, newspapers and even plastic bottles are blowing about the road – it’s a day for strong guys who can handle a bike round those technical bits.

Martinez, Zabel, Voeckler, Di Luca and Vaugrenard all come and go then it’s Millar, very smooth but it’s not special – he’s not hurting enough, it takes time to get used to the hurt of racing again.

Wiggins next, it’s very close between him and Millar. Mayo, just another ride, it can’t be Hushovd already – it is, he’s storming, a strong guy who can handle the bends, yeah, that’s him, but he can’t win can he?

Boonen, anything but smooth, but the time isn’t bad.
Valverde is going well, but maybe just starting to tie-up as he takes the left hander to the finish.

Cunego? Organise a search party.

They are all on the road now, there’s Davie Zee up on the big screen, he’s quick, but I don’t think he’ll like all those bends, especially on that wind tunnel perfect position.

Landis next, he’s peering over his hands in that 90’s position, the hurt is on but the watch isn’t playing-ball. [We’re all still scratching our heads wondering why Floyd missed his start-house time – he was 9 seconds down at the end but could very well have won…]

Evans, too skinny for this gig but he’s going OK, around Millar and Wiggins pace.

I thought this next guy was going home – Menchov, the gear is too low and the distance too short for him.

Another American, Levi, nice position, flat back and all, pity about the time though – 22 seconds back in 36th place.

Big cheers from the French – Moreau, all tongue and rocking shoulders, he won the prologue in 2001, but not today Christophe.

Back to Australia now and whilst this isn’t Roger’s best distance he’s going quickly, but not Hushovd quickly.

The next guy is the one, if he can just steer that airfoil Cervelo through the twisty streets of Strasbourg, no one will be faster on the straights – Zabriskie hasn’t done it, jeez!

Can Hincapie do it? George hasn’t been listening to Lance’s advice about gearing and he has that rock steady, ‘slow-mo’ look on the mega-gear that the best chrono guys have, he’s up on Davie Zee but it’s very close with Hushovd,

The same second! But the wrong way and it’s a Norwegian maillot jaune.

Hincapie was second, Zabriskie third, un-seeded Sebastian Lang of Gerolsteiner was fourth, Valverde fourth and a surprising Stuey O’Grady sixth.
Millar was 17th and Wiggins 16th.
David won’t like that one!

I enjoyed that, we’ve got a bike race at last.

Results: Tour de France Prologue
001 118 HUSHOVD Thor NOR C.A 00:08:17:000
002 003 HINCAPIE George USA DSC 00:08:17:730 at 00h 00′ 01″
003 018 ZABRISKIE David USA CSC 00:08:21:210 at 00h 00′ 04″
004 044 LANG Sebastian GER GST 00:08:21:800 at 00h 00′ 05″
005 091 VALVERDE Alejandro ESP CEI 00:08:21:920 at 00h 00′ 05″
006 013 O’GRADY Stuart AUS CSC 00:08:21:930 at 00h 00′ 05″
007 026 ROGERS Michael AUS TMO 00:08:23:300 at 00h 00′ 06″
008 009 SAVOLDELLI Paolo ITA DSC 00:08:25:020 at 00h 00′ 08″
009 071 LANDIS Floyd USA PHO 00:08:26:260 at 00h 00′ 09″
010 096 KARPETS Vladimir RUS CEI 00:08:27:090 at 00h 00′ 10″
011 023 HONCHAR Serhiy UKR TMO 00:08:27:110 at 00h 00′ 10″
012 101 BOONEN Tom BEL QSI 00:08:28:210 at 00h 00′ 11″
013 169 QUINZIATO Manuel ITA LIQ 00:08:29:330 at 00h 00′ 12″
014 061 EVANS Cadel AUS DVL 00:08:30:240 at 00h 00′ 13″
015 031 MOREAU Christophe FRA A2R 00:08:30:730 at 00h 00′ 14″
016 139 WIGGINS Bradley GBR COF 00:08:30:880 at 00h 00′ 14″
017 146 MILLAR David GBR SDV 00:08:31:650 at 00h 00′ 15″
018 072 GRABSCH Bert GER PHO 00:08:31:890 at 00h 00′ 15″
019 064 HORNER Christopher USA DVL 00:08:32:610 at 00h 00′ 16″
020 079 PENA Victor Hugo COL PHO 00:08:33:030 at 00h 00′ 16″


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