Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered Left: French Socialists divided ahead of primary runoff (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered Left: Are Europe's social democrats obsolete? (part 2)

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

New President says Jammeh has agreed to cede power

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

France finally grants Senegalese vets citizenship

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Pollution threatens island paradise of Mauritius, and one Cameroonian expat's quest to bring safe drinking water to his country

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Publicis boss encourages firms to move staff to Paris post-Brexit

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Fake news has had almost no impact on Wikipedia'

Read more

FOCUS

Iraq: Embedded with French special forces in Mosul

Read more

Sports

Cancellera takes yellow jersey in Tour de France prologue

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-30

Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara (pictured) won the opening-day prologue of the Tour de France Saturday by clocking 7 minutes 13 seconds in the 6.4-kilometre individual time trial held in Liège, Belgium.

AP - Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland won the Tour de France prologue for a fifth time on Saturday, dominating the time trial around the gritty city of Liege.

“What a great opening - again!” he said after his seven-second win.

Britain’s Bradley Wiggins was second over the winding 6.4-kilometer (4-mile) course, and France’s Sylvain Chavanel was third, also 7 seconds back.

Cadel Evans of Australia began his title defense in 13th place, 17 seconds behind the Swiss winner.

“I did the most I could. It’s not always easy. I always do the maximum,” Cancellara said after winning in 7 minutes, 13 seconds at an average speed of 53 kph. “It’s a great feeling and this certainly takes some of the pressure off.”

The Tour de France: a major popular attraction

The race harkened back to Cancellara’s first Tour prologue victory in the same Belgian city in 2004, and over a similar course. The four-time time trial world champion has also won every Tour opening-day time trial on foreign soil - in London in 2007, Monaco in 2009, and Rotterdam in 2010.

At the first time check, around the midway point, Cancellara led Chavanel by one second, then accelerated to the finish.

Despite jittery first-day nerves, only a few riders ran into mishaps. Tony Martin, one of the world’s best time-trial riders, was the day’s highest-profile casualty: The German rider got a flat tire, raised his hand to his team staffers, and had to change bikes - and crossed 15 seconds back of Chavanel, who was leading up to that point.

Promising young Slovak rider Peter Sagan briefly skipped off the road and lost time.

The victory offered a bright spot for Cancellara’s RadioShack Nissan Trek team, which is without its leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg - out nursing a spinal injury sustained in the Criterium du Dauphine this month. The team is also without manager Johan Bruyneel, who’s been listed in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency doping case also focusing on seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong. Bruyneel chose to stay away so as not to be a distraction.

Cancellara said the victory, which he dedicated to his pregnant wife, was doubly rewarding because he broke his collarbone in the Tour of Flanders in April.

As defending champion, Evans had the honor of riding last among the 198 competitors who rolled down the starter’s ramp for the race against the clock in the cycling-crazed city, where untold thousands of fans lined the route.

Sunday’s first stage takes riders over a mostly flat, 198-kilometer loop from Liege to the nearby town of Seraing.


 

Date created : 2012-06-30

  • TOUR DE FRANCE

    France favours Britain's Wiggins for Tour title

    Read more

  • CYCLING

    Armstrong faces new doping charges

    Read more

  • CYCLING

    Schleck withdraws from Tour de France over injury

    Read more

COMMENT(S)