Saturday, 30 June 2012

Tour de France Prologue: What We Learnt

In the grand scheme of a Grand Tour you could be excused for thinking that a 6.4km prologue wouldn't matter a great deal. OK, so the time gaps are minimal(ish) but it is an early indicator of form, attitude and skill. The results of today's prologue tell us quite a few things, here they are in 12 easy points...

  1. Fabian Cancellara will not be put down by a broken collarbone. Every Tour de France prologue he has ever started, he has won. Did we really think today would be any exception? Really? No. Spartacus is back.
  2. Tony Martin could have given Fabian a run for his money if only his run of bad luck hadn't continued in the form of a puncture. Sh*t happens at the best, and worst, of times.
  3. Wiggins Races intelligently. He could have chucked his bike around corners, stomped harder on the pedals and possibly taken victory and yellow today. Wiggins though knows this race is three weeks long, its not worth chucking away for a 6.4km prologue. Even taking this approach he put 10 seconds into Cadel Evans. Its win win.
  4. Peter Sagan will win the green jersey. He had a great TT today even though he unclipped his foot to keep himself upright and lost a few seconds. He can TT, Climb, Sprint - he is every other bike riders worst nightmare.
  5. Frank Schleck really cannot Time Trial. After finishing over 30 seconds down on Bradley Wiggins, his performance was described by Rob Hayles in the Eurosport studio as 'dire'.
  6. Sylvain Chavanel is in the form of his life. It looked like the Frenchman was going to take the victory had it not been for the big two. His bad back is cured and his TT phenomenal - keep an eye on him throughout this Tour.
  7. Michele Scarponi's opening prologue was as bad as his Giro prologue effort. Pretty bad.
  8. Contrary to the belief of David Harmon, Pierre Rolland cannot ride a 'good' prologue. It was worse than Franks effort.
  9. Philipe Gilbert looks to be finding some form again. He backed up his Belgian Time Trial champion status with a solid prologue today. A 2km uphill finish tomorrow close to his birthplace looks to be his main goal. I would back him 100%, except Peter Sagan is riding also.
  10. Samuel Sanchez had a stinker. He was King of the Mountains last year and he will be attacking like crazy in the mountains this year. Ive got him down as a dark horse because his TT isn't usually this bad. Today it was bad. Really bad. He has been recovering from injury though...
  11. Ryder Hesjedal has the legs. He put in a pretty decent ride today and yes, I'm well aware that he won the Giro so therefore 'cannot possibly win the Tour'. Only, try telling that to Stephen Roche who did the double and the worlds 25 years ago to win the 'Triple Crown'. It was tougher in his day. This year featured a dumbed down Giro and features a dumbed down Tour. Do not count him out. 
  12. Finally, and rather worryingly, Dennis Menchov looked frighteningly good today, finishing only 6 seconds down on Wiggins. I heard somebody say last week that he was looking 'very lean'. I saw today that he was looking 'very very lean'. He's been known to Time Trial well and of course he can climb. He has been known to fall off a lot though, but as it stands, watch this man very carefully, Bradley.  

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I feel up to speed on things now. Where I am it s not so easy to follow things le the Tour. Many thanks!