Saturday, July 01, 2006

Droppin' The Hammer

Finally after one of the worst days in pro cycling history, the Tour de France got under way with a short and technical 7.1km Prologue. Dave Zabriskie and George Hincapie were favored to win, but sprinter/Classics rider/time trialist Thor Hushovd, the Norwegian Hammer, powered to an impressive win.

Photo courtesy AFP

George Hincapie barely finished second just .73 seconds behind, and Dave Zabriskie pulled out third place but farther back at nearly 4 and a half seconds.

All in all it was exciting (even for time trialing), with the major "highlight" being Floyd Landis' late start due to a cut tire. The clock ticked down and the starting beep could be heard, but Landis was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, some six to eight seconds later, he sailed through the starting tunnel and onto the course, and still managed to finish 9th. The margin by which he lost the race was almost equal to the time he lost changing his wheel. Was the yellow jersey his to lose? We'll never know.

Can't wait for tomorrow. The sprinters come out to play, which will likely see a head-to-head battle between the World Champion's jersey and the maillot jaune. And a little Australian named Robbie.