- Article published:
- July 02, 2006, 1:00 BST
- John Trevorrow , in Strasbourg
By John Trevorrow , in Strasbourg From the wreckage of last week's mayhem emerged a magical first...
By John Trevorrow , in Strasbourg
From the wreckage of last week's mayhem emerged a magical first day of Tour de France which may just restore the fans' faith in the sport.
Six cyclists finished within four seconds of each other in the opening 7 km Tour de France prologue yesterday with Australia's Stuart O'Grady in sixth place, less than a second away from third.
Michael Rogers, less than two seconds further back in seventh place, showed that he is set to take on the role of leader of the T-Mobile team given the suspension of Jan Ullrich. "Yesterday was a shitty day and I've come out of it feeling much stronger now and more optimistic," Rogers said.
"I am looking forward to the challenges which will certainly come forward over the next three weeks."
O'Grady's ride certainly impressed CSC team boss Bjarne Riis who suggested that the red-headed South Australian should have a go for the sprints over the next few days.
"I don't think I'm mentally prepared to win the battle for the green jersey but I'm definitely going to have a go for the stage win tomorrow," O'Grady said.
Cadel Evans, not noted as a prologue specialist, rode brilliantly to finish 14th, only 13 seconds behind winner Thor Hushovd. Evans is a noted time triallist but the 7km journey was a little short for him to show his strength against the clock.
Robbie McEwen rode okay but would have been slightly disappointed at losing 28 seconds to Hushovd, and more importantly the early points for the green jersey. It also makes it more difficult for him to have a chance for the yellow before the Tour hits the hills on day 10.
Simon Gerrans lost 39 seconds but would not be too perturbed as this race is not his speciality. He was pleased with his general good health and his recovery from a crash in the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise on January 31. Complications after surgery for a broken collar bone kept him off the bike for many weeks.