Lots of crowd today for the first day of this 2009 Tour de France and what a nice prologue!
I didn’t talk much about the prologue course yesterday as I wanted to see the riders performing it to make sure that I had the right feeling about the course. Today’s performances just confirmed my thoughts. This was a very tough prologue with two important parts: the beginning with a long climb where heavy riders were penalized, and a very technical downhill at the end that cost some folks a lot of seconds on the finish line. I hope you also noticed how often the riders had to adjust their speed and brackets. It showed once again how technical it was and how painful it must have been!
For all these reasons, we have to celebrate today a great Cancellara. His ride was just great. He didn’t suffer much in the first technical part with that long uphill, and then he simply smashed away any competition in the downhill towards the finish line. For proof: he even passed Menchov one kilometre before the finish line.
Just for the records, I think that Menchov’s car and Menchov himself helped Cancellara in the downhill and for the finish…well done Mr. Cancellara!
As I told you yesterday, Menchov paid today for his strong Giro and it was no surprise to me to see him underperforming. It’s no surprise as well to see all the favourites doing well today. Evans, Sastre or even Leipheimer gave a good shot at it and didn’t lose much time.
Regarding Lance: I think he did great with a 10th position. Given the fact that he didn’t have the chance to do much time trialing before Monaco, I think this is the best start he could have taken on this Tour. He is right on track so keep an eye on him.
You should also keep an eye on the Liquigas and Astana teams as they look like the strongest teams on the field today. Look out for lots of strategic moves from these teams; it will be fun to watch!
Tomorrow will be a good day for sprinters and I would go for a win of Cavendish even if there is a little climb right before the final sprint. He could do something great tomorrow and if he is not, guys like Haussle and Bennati will surely be looking for a win as well.
I think that this year will be a super-open race compared to the previous years and this provides me lots of excitement. It was a great kick off, the crowd loved it and I hope that the next 3 weeks will have the same flavour!
Yours in Sport,
Ronan Pensec participated eight times in the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey in 1990 while racing for Greg Lemond's Z team. He now operates Ronan Pensec Travel, an official Tour de France operator hosting VIP cycling tours for recreational cycling enthusiasts.