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94th Tour de France - Prologue Live
By Staff
Date: 7/7/2007
94th Tour de France - Prologue Live

94th Tour de France - Prologue Live
The tour takes to the street of London town to decide the first Maillot Jaune of the 94th edition of le grand boucle... Updated with photos.

Credit Agricole rider drives off the ramp. Photo c. Mark Sharon

Prologue London 7.9 km
Welcome to our live coverage of the 94th Tour de France. Today's prologue is through the historic streets of London. Andy McGrath's prologue preview is here with pictures of the historic landmarks the riders won't see as they put their full effort into the ride. Stage Profile  

Today's mythic date 07-07-07, with three 7's is a one in a century event with tens of thousands choosing to take their wedding vows based on the thought that the convergence of the triple lucky 7's; with the added benefit that a husband will more easily remember his anniversary. No rider will be blessed by the coincidence of the start date of the tour with the dossard 7 nor with the number 1, as the tour organizers have eliminated the bib numbers 1through 9 as a symbolic gesture and a statement on the result of last years edition. The tours pre-emptive mood may say more about the hysteria surrounding the last years events as much as the elimination of riders and teams on the eve of the event last year.

George Hincapie warms up in front of the Discovery bus. Photo c. Mark Sharon

The Favourites
Wherever Bradley Wiggins has gone this week, he has practically been mobbed by the press. His Dauphiné prologue win confirmed him as one of the big contenders for this prologue, and it would be incredible for the Cofidis man to win in his backyard, though he could succumb to nerves on the big day. David Millar, always dangerous in prologues, has been largely overlooked. It has been billed as a fight between world champion Fabian Cancellara (CSC) and Wiggins for victory on a course that should go to a powerful time-trialist, but also watch out for the likes of Millar, David Zabriskie, Jens Voigt (CSC), George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne) and last year’s Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), as well as candidates for the Tour like Kloden and Leipheimer. The Daily Peloton’s tip for a surprise is Robbie Hunter (Barloworld).

The Weather
Britain is synonymous with rain - spectators and players at Wimbledon will assure of that. However, the cycling gods have provided a perfect day for the tour start; cloudy and sunny, reaching around 20 degrees Celsius for the prologue. There’s also a westerly wind blowing at 8-9mph, but that shouldn’t hamper the riders too much.

1600 CEST -  Enrico Degano is the first of the 189 riders who is off the ramp now at 16.00 CET and the Tour de France 2007 is rolling  It's a course for time-triallist, less turns and long and wide roads Degano is a rider of Team Barloworld. Barloworld is one of the wild card team

Final km for Degano, he has had his 11 minutes or so of fame; the French camera followed the whole prologue of Degano but it's certainly not a good time. The first time set by Degano is 10.20'98; it's actually not a real bad time I think, but time will tell as the faster legs take to the course.

1617 CEST - William Bonnet (Credit Agricole) is off the ramp now. Bonnet is riding a good season thus far. He was 4th in the prologue of the Tour de Suisse. He is also more a sprinting talent. Daniel Navarro (Astana) has set the new best time in 9.47 it was not a good time for Degano as we mentioned before.

Frederik Willems (Liquigas) comes in at 9:45.11 and is almost 3 sec faster than Navarro. In the meantime multiple World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is off the ramp; Oscar Freire had problems with his butt last week, but it seems that it is going much better now. Thomas Vaitkus (Discovey Channel) comes in with a time of 9:33 and has set the new best time.

A Liquigas rider passes Big Ben. Photo c. Mark Sharon

1623 CEST -  In the meantime Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile), the new German TT Champion, is off the ramp. William Bonnet (Cr. Agricole) comes in with a time of 9:26 and has set the new best time besting Degano is almost 1.00. Daniele Righi (Lampre) comes in with a time of 9:53 and loses amost 30 sec. on Bonnet.  Daniele Righi (Lampre) comes in with a time of 9:53 and loses amost 30 sec. on Bonnet.

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) crosses the line in 9:45 and that's the 5th at the moment, not a bad time for the sprinter of Rabobank, he limited his losses thus far. We don't think that the winner of the prologue will ride faster than a time between 9:05 and 9:10

1630 CEST - Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile) comes in with a time of 9:43 and is 3rd at the moment. Still about 3 hours of coverage to go, tomorrow TV coverage starts at 11.15 CET with live coverage of  the whole stage through stage 1. Matteo Tosatto crosses the line as 10th thus far in 9:46.

Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) off the ramp now. Astarloza rode a very good Dauphine Liberé and is one of the riders to watch for in the next three weeks for Euskaltel. Christopher Horner (Predictor-Lotto) takes to the start ramp, Chris is a capable time trialist and a consummate all round rider. Stuart O'Grady is off the ramp too. The winner of Paris Roubaix will be one of the great domestic riders for the team and especially for Sastre.

1642 CEST - Sergio Paulinho (Discovery) crosses the line as 3rd with a time of 9:34. William Bonnet still leads the race thus far ahead of Vaitkus and Paulinho, two riders of Discovery Channel. Twice winner of the Giro D'Italia, the winner of the prologue in the Tour de Romandie and the winner of the TT in the Giro is off the ramp now. His name Paolo "Il Falco" Savoldelli.

Fans watch one of the big screens around the course. Photo c. Mark Sharon

1649 CEST - Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel) has set the new best time; 3 sec faster than Bonnet, so a time of 9:23. Thomas Lövkvist (La Francaise des Jeux) is off the ramp. Crash of Stuart O'Grady just before the final km, O'Grady seems to be seriously hurt, it was a nasty crash; he rolls in with a time of 10:13.04

It looks like O'Grady missed a turn and hit a barrier near the road. Axel Merckx (T-Mobile) comes in with a time of 9:44 in his final Tour of his career. Chris Horner is 7th at the moment.  Paolo Savoldelli crosses the line as 3rd with a time of 9:28. The next one off the ramp is Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre). Bruseghin won the mountain TT in the Giro to Europa.

1657 CEST - Thomas Lövkvist (La FDJ) sets a time of 9:36 and is 7th. The next one off the ramp is the American TT Champion, Dave "Z" Zabriskie, once the USA champion is in we can see what times are possible on this course

1705 CEST - Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel) sets a time of 9:37 and is 6th at the moment. He loses 14 sec on Astarloza, Vladimir Karpets (Caisse D'Epargne), the winner of the Tour de Suisse and the Volta a Catalunya, is off the ramp. Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) sets a time of 9:35 and is 6th at the moment. Marzio Bruseghin sets a time of 9:41

1714 CEST - Dave Zabriskie crosses the line in 9:22 and is almost 1 sec faster than Astarloza. New best time thus far; but likely it will not be the best time in the end, Zabriskie loses 2 sec on Astarloza in the last part of the course. Vladimir Karpets (Caisse D'Epargne) crosses the line in a new best time of 9:16.77 and is 6 sec faster than Zabriskie and 7 sec faster than Astarloza; the time of Karpets will be a big marker for the others. This time of Karpets is really good.

1720 CEST - Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) is off the ramp now. Antonio Colom (Astana), winner of a stage in the Dauphine, sets a time of 9:33 and he bumps another rider from 7th place. Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step) sets a time of 9:29 for 6th. Phillippe Gilbert (La FDJ) sets a time of 9:36 and is 11th at almost 20 sec off Karpets time. Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) the arrow takes flight off the ramp.The next one off the ramp is top sprinter and multiple stage winner in the Tour and Giro, Robbie McEwen

1729 CEST - Bernhard Eisel (T-Mobile) starts his effort. Popovych comes in and sets a time of 9:36 and is 13th for the moment.  Flecha crosses the line and sets a time of 9:46 and is 34th. Mathieu Ladagnous (La FDJ), the winner of the four days of Dunkerque, is off the ramp - McEwen crosses the line and sets a time of 9:59,

 Bernhard Eisel crosses the line now and set a time of 9:45, more or less equal to Freire's time. Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) off the ramp. Voeckler had the yellow jersey for 10 days 2 years ago. The next one off the ramp is Russian TT Champion, Vladimir Gusev. Gusev won also the Tour of Belgium and a stage in the Tour de Suisse

1737 CEST - Thus far the top 3 at the finish is 1. Vladimir Karpets, 2. Dave Zabriskie, 3. Mikel Astarloza.

Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), winner of a stage in Romandie and the second in the young rider classsification of the Tour 2006, is off the ramp now

1746 CEST - Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) crosses the line and sets a time of 9:15.99, it's the new best time - 1 and 2 for Russia thus far.  Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) sets a time of 9:33 and is 9th at the moment. The next one off the ramp, is Kazakh national champion on the road Maxim Iglinskiy, winner of a stage in the Dauphiné a few weeks ago.

1756 CEST -José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse D'Epargne), national TT champion of Spain, sets a time of 9:23 and is 4th for the moment. The next one off the ramp is one of the co leaders of Discovery Channel, Alberto Contador. Iglinskiy comes in as 17th at 22 sec off Gusev. The next one off the ramp is Fabian Wegmann. Wegmann won the road race at the German nationals in Wiesbaden last week.

1801 CEST - Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) launches from the start... He starts his final Tour now in his final season as professional cyclist. Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) comes in as 9th now at 14 sec. of Gusev.  Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) sets a time of 9:25 and is 6th thus far.

1810 CEST - Ok here we go as the favorites start to roll out onto the prologue course: Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D'Epargne) is off the ramp; followed by one of the co-leaders of Astana, Andrey Kaschechkin. Michael Boogerd crosses the line and sets a time of 9:52.  The next one off the ramp is young talented Remy di Gregorio (La FDJ), Remy won the KOM jersey in the Dauphine Libere.

At the 4,5 check point, Valverde is 9 sec slower than Karpets and Gusev. Jens Voigt (CSC) crosses the line now and set a disappointing time for him of 9:38 and is 24th at the moment. Voigt has not been having his best year, but he only grows stronger by the day in grand tours.

1817 CEST - the top 5 at the finish thus far: 1. Gusev, 2. Karpets, 3. Zabriskie, 4. José I. Gutierrez and 5. Astarloza.

Valverde crosses the line now and sets a time of 9:33 and loses 17 sec on Gusev. Young German Linus Gerdemann had set a good time and is in for 8th. Andrey Kascheckin (Astana) crosses the line and sets a time of 9:25 and is 7th at the moment. Not a bad time for Kaske. Grivko, the replacement of Petacchi, comes in as 17th thus far, as Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital) is off the ramp; followed by  Inigo Landaluze, the winner of the Dauphine Libere 2006.

1825 CEST - In about 1 hour we know who won the prologue of the Tour de France 2007. Michael Rasmussen, double winner of the polka dot jersey, is off the ramp now. Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) crosses the line in 9:22 and is 3rd at the moment at 7sec of Gusev. It's a really good time for the winner of a stage in the Eneco Tour 2006.

1831 CEST - The next one off the ramp is Frank Schleck, the winner of the Amstel Gold Race 2006 and winner on Alpe D'Huez in the Tour 2006. Fränk was also 3rd in Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year and co leader of Team CSC. Daniele Bennati crosses the line and sets a time of 9:33 and is 17th at the moment. The next one off the ramp is the number 3 of the Tour de France 2006, Andreas Klöden (Astana) and maybe the second depends on the disposition of the Landis case, is off the ramp now.

Sandy Casar (La FDJ) of France launches his tour from the ramp. Fränk Schleck (CSC) comes in and sets a time of 9:47 and is 60th at the moment. Not that good for him, Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) sets off on his effort.

1839 CEST - Andreas Klöden is 8 sec. faster than Gusev/Karpets after 4.5 km; the sponsor on his bib is the Kazakhstan Railways, actually Klöden is riding like a locomotiv as he attacks the course.

1840 CEST - Andreas Klöden (Astana) sets a time of 9:03.30 and has the best new time. Gusev is 2nd at 13sec now, what a difference. George Hincapie flies down the ramp... the next riders to watch to break the current times are Hincapie, Wiggins, Millar, Moreau, Vinokourov.

Sylvain Chavanel sets a time of 9:26 and is 11th. Carlos Sastre (CSC) the leader of this team is off the ramp; and Thomas Dekker and Leif Hoste follow as well. George Hincapie comes to the line. He won't beat the time of Klöden but sets the 2nd best time thus far (9:13). Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) crosses the line as 23rd with a time of 9:34

1854 CEST - One of the top favorites for the victory is off the ramp now, David Millar (Saunier Duval). Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) is off the ramp now. Vino is the top favorite with the bookies to win the Tour 2007; not to mention the team managers and some riders consider him the man to beat.

Erik Zabel (Milram) followed by former World Champion, Tom Boonen are on the course. CSC is disappoints thus far. Sastre is 87th at the 4.5 km check. Thomas Dekker is 5th thus far at the finish, great time for the young gun; he's going to be big real soon and perhaps land in the maillot blanc with his effort. Benoit Vaugrenard (La FDJ) is off the ramp now, he is the present French TT champion.

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) is off the ramp now. As another prologue tip favorite is off the ramp, it's Bradley Wigggggggggggins as the British fans scream in support. Wiggins won the prologue of the Dauphine and the 4 days of Dunkerque earlier this year. Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) is 14th with his time. Sastre loses 43 sec on Klöden in 8 km!

Fans line the road as David Millar passes. Photo c. Mark Sharon

 David Millar loses 11 sec after 4,5 km a disappointing time, Millar crosses the line as 9th with a time of 9:23; Wiggins will have to carry the British hopes for a yellow jersey today.

1900 CEST - Levy Leipheimer (Discovery) is off the ramp now. Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) crosses the line now and is 5th at the moment. His time 9:20, he loses 17 sec on Klöden, not that bad for Vino - but not super either. Boonen is in with a time of 9:30 and loses 27 sec on Klöden.  At the 4,5 km checkpoint, Wiggins has the 3rd time at 8 sec off Klöden's.

Christophe Moreau (Ag2r) is off the ramp now. Moreau won the Dauphine Libere a few weeks ago. Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) comes in with a time of 9:13 and is 3rd at the moment. He loses 10 sec on Klöden. Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) is gets his countdown and is our to the gate.

1909 CEST -  Fabian Cancellara (CSC), the world champion TT, is off the ramp now. Lets see if he can beat the time of Andreas Klöden - But if his form is like his team mates, his time would not be good enough. Michael Rogers (T-Mobile), a multiple TT World Champion, flies off the ramp while Levi Leipheimer (Discovery) sets a time of 9:30 and loses 27 sec on Klöden.

1911 CEST -The last rider is off the ramp now, Oscar Pereiro (Caisse D'Epargne). In about 9 min we know the results. Hushovd sets the 23th time thus far at 28 sec of Klöden. Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) finishes with a time of 9:35 and loses 31 sec on Klöden. Hammer time: Moreau sets a disappointing time and loses more than 35 sec. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) comes in as 23rd at 27 sec of Klöden.

Final km for the flying Suisse man: It's not the Kazakhstan railways anymore but the Suisse Alp express!! Evans loses 23 sec on Klöden at the finish. Cancellara comes in with a time of 8:50.74 and is 12 sec faster than Klöden. NEW BEST TIME !!! Holy Cow!  It takes me longer to get up and get a drink

Where his team mates have disappointing times it's the flying Suisse man who saves CSC. Rogers comes in with a time of 9:27 and is 20th he loses 37 sec on Cancellara.

Only Pereiro is expected at the finish and the prologue of the Tour de France is over... Pereiro is coming to the line now - Pereiro his time is 9:27 and is 21st at 37 sec of Cancellara.

Fabian Cancellara wins the prologue of the Tour de France 2007 with a hammer time of 8:50!!!!!

Cancellara after the win. Photo c. Mark Sharon

1. Fabian Cancellara
2. Andreas Klöden at 13 sec
3. George Hincapie
4. Brad Wiggins
5. Vladimir Gusev
6. Vladimir Karpets
7. A. Vinokourov
8. T. Dekker
9. M. Quinziato
10. Benoit Vaugrenard

Vaugrenard as number 10 loses 32 sec on Cancellara. Cancellara is also the first wearer of the Yellow jersey and could keep it when the race returns to Europe.

We will be back tomorrow with stage 1 from London to Canterbury over 203 km
Thanks for joining us for the live coverage of the 2007 Tour de France, Photos and results to follow.
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