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Tour de France 2009: Stage 1

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 Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the 2009 Tour de France! We kick things off today with a 15.5 km time trial starting and ending in Monaco – the first of 21 stages through six lands and a total of 3500 km.  Join us for the fun over the next three weeks!

Today's stage doesn't start until 16:00 local time, so we have a time to take a look at the stage and the race, and some of the favourites for each one.  

 This year's Tour features 10 flat stages, seven mountain stages, one medium mountain stage, two individual time trials and one team time trial.   There are three mountaintop finishes, two rest days and 55 km worth of individual time trials.

 Who is favoured in a Tour like that?  There are lots of big names here to chose from.  Alberto Contador of Astana has to be the top-ranked of all, but let's not forget his teammate Lance Armstrong, who in his day has one a Tour or two – or seven.  Defending champion Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) is here, too, as is last year's second-placed finisher Cadel Evans of Silence-Lotto.  And let us not forget the winner of the recent Giro d'Italia, Rabobank's Denis Menchov.

 It's an interesting time trial course today.  At 15.5 km, it is short enough that there won't be any major time differences, but long enough for the favourites want to make sure they are near the top.  It combines the best of a city course and dash into the country, with even a Category four ranked climb along the way.

 But who do you all think will win, both today and in three weeks?  Check out forum.cyclingnews.com and take part in the discussion.

Formula One fans will recognize some of the scenery today.  Our boys may be a bit slower (and quieter)  but will have a harder time of it than the auto driver.   

The riders will go off at one-minute intervals, with Kenny Van Hummel of Skil-Shimano opening things at 16:00.  The top 20 will have a 1:30 interval, with defending champion leaving the start house at 19:08:30.

 The start and finish are at the beautiful yacht harbour.  The riders head to the Casino (but they'd better not stop to play!) than head west, where they cross the border into France.  From there, they head northeast to the Cote de Beausoleil,  a 7.2 km long climb and a Category Four mountain.  

It may not be much of a climb, but it has a pretty technical descent and there are a number of tight curves and turns to be faced.  Then the riders will hit the seafront and run in to the finish at the harbour.

The bad news is that there is a chance of rain and/or thunderstorms late today, so that could have an effect on some of the later – and therefore top-ranked – riders.  That is why Astana chose to give Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer early starting times, 16:17 and 16:37, respectively.

 Kenny Van Hummel of Skil-Shimano is the first to go -- the Tour has started!

 And Prince Albert himself was the starter for Van Hummel.  Now that's an honour!

 This isn't a flat course, and Van Hummel is the first to go up and around the many hills and curves in this lovely city.

 Paco Wrolich of Milram is the next to go. and now we are by Brice Feillu of Agritubel.

 There is only one intermediate time check on this short stage, and that is at the mountaintop, at km 7.5, almost exactly halfway through.

The organisers are looking at a time of about 20 minutes today.

Van Hummel looks comfortable on his bike

 Who is starting when?  Now, you know you can't tell the players without a programme!  Check out www.cyclingnews.com/news/tour-de-france-stage-one-start-times and you will know!

Armstrong has warmed up and is making his way to the start house.  He does some stretching exercises while he waits. 

 Armstrong has taken his place in the waiting line of riders, but of course he is the only one surrounded by reporters. 

Van Hummel tops the climb

Armstrong is on the start ramp.

 Armstrong puts on his sunglasses and adjusts his jersey as he gets closer and closer to his start.

It is a humid day here in Monaco.

Armstrong is now on the road!

 He rolls along to the cheers of the crowd.  And there really are a lot of people here along the way.

Armstrong is up out of the saddle as he goes along.  His time at the mountain will be very interesting....

Update on our times.

Who are we picking today as stage winner?  Not to be a broken record, but Alberto Contador has to be a favourite on this course.  Or CSC's Fabian Cancellara – who just happens to be the reigning Olympic time trial champion.  And would anyone be surprised to see Lance Armstrong up there among the best today?

 Armstrong successfully negotiates a hairpin curve as he works his way up the course.  Literally, UP the course.

 We have three riders at the finish so far.  Feillu has the best time, at 21:50. Armstrong has now ridden 5 km, so maybe he will set a new best time in another 10 km. 

 Columbia's Montfort has the best intermediate time, of 12.01.

 But there is a new intermediate best time:  11:39 from Armstrong.

Armstrong continues to tear along on his way down.  Will he set a new best time at the end, one that may even stand up to the end?  You can join the discussion at forum.cyclingnews.com

Cloud cover here in Monaco.

 Armstrong has now finished the descent and can turn on the speed for the flat finale.

 One km to go for Armstrong.

 And the American comes in with a new best time of 20:12:36, about 22 seconds faster than Montfort.

 In third place at the moment, by the way, is Charles Wegelius of Silence-Lotto, who was named to the squad at the last minute to replace Thomas Dekker.  He is now 27 seconds down.

Armstrong is only 30 seconds faster than Monfort.

 Columbia's Tony Martin is the next to approach the intermediate time check.  He has just passed the rider who started a minute in front of him. 

 Jerome Coppel of FDJ is now second at the mountain, 11 seconds behind Armstrong.  Martin is not yet there.

 And Martin has set a new best time at the mountian, 12 seconds faster than Armstrong!

 Martin makes his way carefully down through the hairpin curves.  So carefully in fact, that he may be losing time. 

 Martin is at the bottom now and can turn on his speed.

 Coppel comes into the finish, currently second in a time of 20:23.

It is a hazy day here in Monaco.

 Levi Leipheimer is underway now, and could well bring in a better time than his teammate.  He is second at the mountain, 3 seconds behind Martin.

 Martin set a good new best time, of 20:04!

 World time trial champion Bert Grabsch of Columbia is now underway.  He said he doesn't fancy his chances on this course, but on the other hand, his teammate Martin said that, too.

Young German Martin beat Armstrong by seven seconds.

 David Millar is underway now, too.  Will this course be something for him?

 Leipheimer is in the tunnel and approaching the finish line. 

Leipheimer brings in the next best time and takes over the lead, with 20:02:52.

 Garmin's Jonathan Vaughters thinks today's results will be a good indication of the overall winner.  "This will be a test of skill, climbing ability, time trial prowess, and judgment - all abilities one needs to win the Tour,” he told Cyclingnews. 

 Silence-Lotto's time trial expert Sebastian Lang of Germany is now going up up up...

Tossato nears the finish line.

Nicolas Roche of AG2R La Mondiale spoke with Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner at the start. "I rode the parcours several times this morning. I think it is a really great route for a time trial. Not only it is a long climb, but because you have to switch gears all the time," he said. "There are a lot of different gradients. You have to play with the derailleur all the time, to not die."

 

"You have to also preserve yourself for the hard descent, and the last flat part to the harbour. There you can ride that section 45km faster, if you have not spent it all yet. On the climb, if you ride one to two kilometres faster than you limit,you will pay for it on the descent because you will be only at 55 instead of 60 kmh.

 

"My goal is to be around 30th."

 Millar was fourth at the intermediate time check, 16 seconds slower than Martin.

 There may be rain in the forecast fr later but there is certainly lot of sunshine right now.

 Millar goes through the final curve before the long finale.

 Millar's rear wheel slips out from under him.  He is able to control it, but that cost seconds. 

Millar was four seconds off of Armstrong's time at that time check at 7.5km.

 Last km for Grabsch, who disappears into the tunnel.

 Grabsch was right, this wasn't a course for him.  He finishes 25th, in 21:23.

 Millar, in the Garmin orange and blue, crosses the finish line in  20:20.34, for fifth place.

 Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank), always a big fan favourite, is now underway.

O'Grady comes to the finish.

 This is the Tour's fifth visit to the Principality of Monaco.  It is ruled by Prince Albert II himself a notable sportsman.  He participated in five consecutive Olympics, from 1988 to  2002. 

 Lang came in as 34th, with a time of 21:34.34.  Do you suppose he planned that?

Eisel is racing now.

 By the way, the slowest time today belongs to the first rider out, Van Hummel.  His time of 22:57 puts him 2:54 down.

 We wish a Happy Independence Day to all our American readers.  Have a good cookout and don't burn the hotdogs!

 Monaco has a total area of 2 square kilometres, making it the second smallest state in the world after Vatican City.  It has 32,000 inhabitants, including a number of cyclists. 

David Zabriskie said, "It is exciting, quote me on that."

 Voigt crosses the mountaintop as 11th, which is 34 seconds behind Martin's best time.

Maxime Monfort (Columbia-HTC) told Cyclingnews, "It is really hard and really hot. You are constantly giving small sprints on the course. You have to sprint on the climbs and on the descents, it hurts your legs.

"I gave it all as if the finish was on the top of the line, but I still had to get to the finish, and that part was terrible."

The current times

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46

Finish times

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
5 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24

It looks like the rain won't come today.

 11th place at the finish for Voigt, nearly a minute down.

"I like to start hard, and you had to start hard here," Levi Leipheimer told Cyclingnews' Kröner. "You are torturing yourself at the beginning and then later you are killing yourself to the point of bleeding out of your ears. It was really tough for me to start like that."

"I am happy with my performance, one corner I took it a bit quick. I did not have any expectations that I would win, so I enjoyed it," said David Millar to Richard Moore.

When we say that Contador is the favourite to win, we mean that he is just about everyone's top pick.  Those who like to put money on such things have picked him ahead of Armstrong.  And Contador's colleagues have picked him, too. L'Equipe asked the riders who they picked, and the Spaniard won that battle with 81 points ahead of Cadel Evans with 41. Armstrong was down in fifth place with only 10 points, the same as Sastre.

An update on the times:

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46

Finish times

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
5 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24

 But who do you think will win it all?  Join the free-for-all, er, the polite discussion at forum.cyclingnews.com

Believe it or not, there are two Japanese riders in the Tour this year, Fumiyuki Beppu of Skil-Shimano and Yukiya Arashiro of Bbox.  But they aren't the first Japanese riders ever in the race, although they could become the first to finish the race.  In 1926 and 1927, Kisso Kawamuro entered the race as a touriste-routier (individual without a team) and withdrew both years during the first stage.  Daisuke Imanaka started for Polti in 1996, but had to drop out after missing the time cut in the 14th stage.

 

Arashiro has just taken to the course. 

 Nicolas Roche is on the course now.

 And Mark Cavendish is the next to hit the road.  We don't expect to see him on the podium today.  Tomorrow, yes, but not today!

 Cavendish is riding carefully rather than quickly.  That's ok for this stage.

 

Fränk Schleck is on the road now.  He has his eyes on the GC here, which could lead to a battle with his younger brother.

An upate on the times...

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46

Finish times

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
5 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24

 Arashiro hits the mountain ranking, over a minute back.  Marzio Bruseghin is close behind him, with the fourth best time. 

 There are a number of big names underway now:  F.Schleck, Robert Gesink, Greg Van Avermaet and Heinrich Haussler have all left the start house in the last few minutes. 

Haussler starts.  He will be writing a diary for Cyclingnews, please check back for that.

"I did not have any big illusions," said USA's Lance Armstrong after the finish. "I did not expect a super performance, but relative to Levi [Leipheimer] and Tony Martin it was not bad."

He is currently third, 10 seconds off of Leipheimer's time of 20:03.

Did you know there is another race going on?  The women are racing in Italy, at the Giro Donne. Lithuania's Edita Pucinskaite (Gauss RDZ Ormu - Colnago) won the opening road stage and takes over the race lead by one second over Germany's Judith Arndt (Team Columbia Highroad Women).

 

Cavendish was 112th at the mountaintop.  He is not really having a leisurely stroll in the park, but he sure isn't using his speed, either.  And why should he?

 Gesink takes the series of curves and turns at the bottom of the descent, as Hincapie leaves the start house.

 Cavendish finally approaches the last km marker.  He probably wouldn't find it funny if he dawdled so much that he missed the time cut.

 Garmin's David Zabriskie is on his way.

 

Cavendish has finally hit the finish line, as 112th in a time of 22:46.08.

An update the riders' times

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46

Finish times

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
4 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
5 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
 

 Gesink is 11th at the finish line.  

 Fränk Schleck has a relatively slow time, as he is 36th, and over a minute down.

A reminder on the top five...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46

Finish times

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
4 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
5 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
 

 Zabriskie, as US time trial champ, is decked out in red-white-and-blue argyle, instead of the usual Garmin orange-white-and-blue.  Even his rear wheel features stars and stripes.

 Roman Kreuziger has just zipped past Jeremy Roy who started a minute ahead of him.

Tom Boonen takes to the course.  It was only decided yesterday that he could ride here.  His team manager said today that Boonen is suffering from stress from the recent events, with stomach ache and diarrhea.

 Kreuziger was third at the mountaintop.  Meanwhile Roy has joined him again on the descent. 

 Kreuziger and Roy are staying close together.

 But Kreuziger pulls away finally at the 1 km marker.

Kreuziger moves into the top five at the first time check.

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
5 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43

Finish times

1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
4 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
5 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
 

 It looked like Kreuziger would bring in a new best time, but he come in two seconds behind Leipheimer, at 20:04, just ahead of Martin.

 Astana's next threat, Andreas Klöden, is now down the descent and will bring in a very good time.

Rogers starts.

 Australian champion Michael Rogers of Columbia heads out on his round.

 Garmin captain Christian Vande Velde is the next to head out, and will be followed two minutes later by Andy Schleck.

 A good time for Zabriskie, as he is currently sixth, at 20:19.

 Klöden is the next over the finish line, and he puts in a time of 19:54.43!  Eight seconds faster than Leipheimer!

 The slender German is the first to break the 20 minute mark. Will his team captain Alberto Contador be able to top that?

Klöden eight seconds faster. An update...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
6 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46
8 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:11:50
9 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:55
10 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel 0:12:00

Finish times

1 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
6 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
7 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:19
8 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
9 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24
10 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis 0:20:37
 

Cyril Lemoine of Skil takes off.  From now on the riders will go at 1:30 minutes intervals.  That means we are down to the Top Twenty!

 Christian Vande Velde is working his way up the climb.  How well will he be able to do, after his serious crash in the Giro?

 

Linus Gerdemann is also on the road, in his distinctive cow-spot Milram jersey.

 Ten years and one day ago today was the opening prologue of the 1999 Tour de France, and the winner was  -- Lance Armstrong!  Yes, he won both the prologue and the Tour that year.  There are some other familiar names in the top 20:  Moreau 4th, Christian Vande Velde 14th, George Hincapie 15th, Stuart O'Grady 16th, and Jonathan Vaughters 19th.

 Boonen crosses the line as 88th, with a time of 21:30.59.  And Rogers is 42 seconds back at the halfway point.

An update on the top ten times...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:11:31
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
7 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
8 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46
9 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:11:50
10 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:55

Finish times

1 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
6 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
7 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:19
8 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
9 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24
10 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis 0:20:37
 

 We talked about how slow Cavendish was, but he wasn't the slowest.  That "honour" still belongs to Van Hummel.

 Andy Schleck is ninth at the mountain, 21 seconds down.  Which is quite good for him.

 Liquigas' Nibali crosses the line as fifth.

 Gerdemann is sporting bright yellow shoes.

 Rogers finishes 14th, some 50 seconds down.

 Vande Velde puts in a very good time, coming in 11th and 35 seconds behind Klöden.

 A. Schleck rides through the tunnel and nears the finish line.

An update on the top ten times...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:11:31
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
7 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
8 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46
9 Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 0:11:48
10 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:11:50

Finish times

1 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:20:09
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
8 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:19
9 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
10 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24
 

 Franco Pellizotti takes to the course s the tenth-to-last rider.

 Columbia captian Kim Kirchen leaves the start house.  At the halfway mark, Gerdemann is 30 seconds down.

 

An the sun has disappeared and it is getting cloudy and dark....

 By the way, Schleck came in with a time of 20:33, which made him 12th at the moment.

 Wiggins takes off, and that brings us to the final five:  Menchov, Cancellara, Contador, Evans and Sastre.

 20:35 and 12th place for Gerdemann.

 Menchov is underway now and probably praying for no rain.  He has his experiences with wet time trials....

 

Cancellara, a top favourite to win this thing, is now on the road.

 Contador, the other top favourite to win today, is on the road!

 A time of 20:28 means 11th place for Sylvan Chavanel.

Our provisional time checks on the Monaco course...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:11:31
5 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
7 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
8 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46
9 Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 0:11:48
10 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:11:50

Finish times

1 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:20:09
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
8 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:19
9 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
10 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24

 Cadel Evans takes off.  Can he take it today?  He seems to be having problems with his handlebars.

 Sastre leaves the start house, so everyone is underway now.

 Contador looks very natty in his yellow and red Spanish TT champion skinsuit.

We are near the end of Tour de France stage one.

 Wiggins is only one second down at the intermediate time check.

 Menchov is very slow today, losing a lot of time at the halfway mark.  Even Cancellara can't beat Martin's time at the mountaintop!

 

Contador sprints to the intermediate time check and breaks Martin's mark by five seconds.

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:28
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:11:31
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
7 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
8 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
9 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:11:45
10 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46

Finish times

1 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
2 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:20:09
6 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
8 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:19
9 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
10 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24

 Alessandro Ballan said,  "It was not bad considering I have not raced in a while. My legs are coming along. The second week could be ideal for me to go for a stage win."

 Evans is fifth at the mountain, seven seconds down.

 Franco Pellizotti Liquigas, said  "I knew that I would not have the legs of the Giro d'Italia right away, I need a few days. A minute off is a lot, but I am looking ahead."

Contador with the new best time...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0:11:22
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:28
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
 

 Wiggins takes the lead!  His time is 19:51.

 Sastre was 23rd at the halfway mark.

 Cancellara approaches Menchov near the end and passes him easily.

He turns on the speed and smashes Wiggins time! 19:32!

 Contador, Evans and Sastre are still on the road.

 Contador moves into secon place with a time of 19:50.64.

 Evans puts in a strong showing as he finishes fifth in a time of 19:55.11.

Cancellara sets the best time...

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank 0:19:32
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0:19:50
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:19:51
 

 Sastre passes under the 1 km marker and goes into the tunnel.

 Sastre loses 1:06 on the leader.  He is 21st, with a time of 20:38.20.

 Congratulations to winner Fabian Cancellara, the first wearer of the yellow jersey!

 That was it for today!  Join us again tomorrow, when we expect to see the fast men fight it out in a mass sprint.

Thanks for reading along with us today.

Our final update on the times...

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0:11:22
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:28
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 0:11:29
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:11:31
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
9 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
10 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43

Finish times

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank 0:19:32
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0:19:50
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:19:51
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 0:19:55
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
8 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:20:09
10 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12

Intermediate standings 7.5km

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0:11:22
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:11:27
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:28
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 0:11:29
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:11:30
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:11:30
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:11:31
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:11:32
9 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:11:39
10 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:43
11 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:11:45
12 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:11:46
13 Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 0:11:48
14 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:11:50
15 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha 0:11:53
16 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:11:55
17 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam 0:11:58
18 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:11:59
19 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:12:00
20 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel 0:12:00
21 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Columbia-HTC 0:12:01
22 Juan José Oroz (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:12:04
23 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence-Lotto 0:12:06
24 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis 0:12:06
25 George Hincapie (USA) Columbia-HTC 0:12:06
26 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:12:08
27 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0:12:09
28 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Katusha 0:12:09
29 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step 0:12:10
30 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:11
31 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux 0:12:12
32 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas 0:12:17
33 Saïd Haddou (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:12:20
34 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis 0:12:21
35 Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis 0:12:24
36 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:24
37 Iván Gutiérrez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:25
38 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:12:26
39 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 0:12:26
40 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:12:30
41 Mickaël Delage (Fra) Silence-Lotto 0:12:30
42 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam 0:12:38
43 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 0:12:40
44 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence-Lotto 0:12:42
45 Brice Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 0:12:43
46 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence-Lotto 0:12:45
47 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 0:12:50
48 Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil-Shimano 0:12:51
49 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:12:51
50 Koldo Fernández (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:12:57
51 Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre-NGC 0:13:00
52 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Milram 0:13:01
53 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano 0:13:21
54 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha 0:13:22
55 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Quick Step 0:13:29

Finish times

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank 0:19:32
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 0:19:50
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:19:51
4 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0:19:54
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 0:19:55
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0:20:02
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0:20:04
8 Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:20:05
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0:20:09
10 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 0:20:12
11 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank 0:20:14
12 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:20:16
13 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:19
14 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:20
15 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:20:24
16 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:20:28
17 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream 0:20:29
18 Andy Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 0:20:33
19 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Milram 0:20:36
20 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis 0:20:37
21 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam 0:20:38
22 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha 0:20:40
23 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-NGC 0:20:42
24 Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Silence-Lotto 0:20:43
25 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Columbia-HTC 0:20:43
26 Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:20:44
27 Michael Rogers (Aus) Columbia-HTC 0:20:45
28 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel 0:20:45
29 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:20:47
30 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Astana 0:20:47
31 William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:20:51
32 Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank 0:20:54
33 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Saxo Bank 0:20:56
34 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:20:56
35 Brian Vandborg (Den) Liquigas 0:20:58
36 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:20:59
37 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:20:59
38 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0:21:00
39 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank 0:21:00
40 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:21:01
41 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis 0:21:02
42 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux 0:21:02
43 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step 0:21:03
44 Nicki Sørensen (Den) Saxo Bank 0:21:04
45 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas 0:21:05
46 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:21:05
47 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0:21:06
48 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 0:21:08
49 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step 0:21:08
50 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:21:09
51 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:21:09
52 Igor Antón (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:21:10
53 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Katusha 0:21:11
54 Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre-NGC 0:21:12
55 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 0:21:15
56 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 0:21:17
57 Saïd Haddou (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 0:21:17
58 Iván Gutiérrez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:21:19
59 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank 0:21:20
60 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:21:21
61 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis 0:21:22
62 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Columbia-HTC 0:21:23
63 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervélo TestTeam 0:21:23
64 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Columbia-HTC 0:21:26
65 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step 0:21:26
66 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 0:21:30
67 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Silence-Lotto 0:21:34
68 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana 0:21:35
69 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 0:21:35
70 José Luis Arrieta (Spa) AG2R La Mondiale 0:21:36
71 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:21:42
72 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Columbia-HTC 0:21:48
73 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Silence-Lotto 0:21:53
74 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Milram 0:21:54
75 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 0:22:00
76 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano 0:22:07
77 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence-Lotto 0:22:07
78 Koldo Fernández (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:22:12
79 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Columbia-HTC 0:22:46

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