Saturday, 03 July, 2004
Tour de France Prologue
The Tour de France started today with a 6.1 kilometer prologue individual time trial. The winner of today's race was Fabian Cancellara, a 23-year-old Swiss rider in his Tour de France debut. Lance Armstrong, the defending Tour champion, came in two seconds behind. I think my friends are a little mystified by my fascination with bicycling in general and the Tour in particular, but they humored me and allowed me to watch the race.
This should prove to be an interesting Tour. Lance Armstrong is attempting to become the first rider ever to win the Tour six times, and there are plenty of riders out to beat him. Interestingly, the lead riders on several of the other teams are former members of Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team. There was some discussion going into the race that Armstrong is past his prime and won't do well. If today's showing is any indication, I'd say that he's as fit as he's ever been. Armstrong is a great overall rider although not a time trial specialist, and yet he beat the best time in the world by more than 10 seconds. Granted, it's just one day of the Tour, but if I was a betting man, I certainly wouldn't put money on anybody but Lance Armstrong in this race.