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92nd Tour de France Stage 1 Live Report
 
By Staff
Date: 7/2/2005
92nd Tour de France Stage 1 Live Report
 

Good afternoon and welcome to the Tour de France!!!

Stage 1: Fromentine-Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile (ITT), 19 km

Today's opening time trial should actually establish the race pecking order much earlier than usual. It's a 19km time trial, but Armstrong says it rides more like a 30km time trial... it has only five roundabouts, 1 bridge, and no corners. This should favor the men with big engines, like Armstrong, Ullrich, Zabriskie, McGee, Botero, etc.

At 1.5 km, there is a 1km climb, so that should put the hurt on the riders right away. Then it's just a long flat haul. The men with GC aspirations will be looking to take some significant time (or minimize the damage). The climbers are in for it today. The climbers like Mayo and Heras could lose well over a minute today to men like Ullrich and Armstrong if they are not careful.

So with eight men through the halfway point (at 9.5km), Walter Beneteau (Bouygues Telecom) has the lead with a time of 10' 51". Already at that point there are big gaps... the slowest time at that point so far is Alessandro Bertolini (Domina Vacanze) at 37". Oh! The "Scary Hungarian" Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) has now set the fastest time at the finish... he's in with a time of 21' 50.60", which is 31" faster than Beneteau. And of course Dave Zabriskie of CSC, who won a time trial in the Giro, is in the first wave of riders. He has just smashed the 9.5km time, flying through in 10' 15", 16" faster than Bodrogi at that point.

Zabriskie will likely set a very fast time that will take a long time to fall. It may very well stand up until the final few men, if it falls at all.

Pavel "The Gavel" Padrnos of Discovery is on course... he's third best at the 9.5 km point with a time of 10' 49", but that's 34" slower than Zabriskie. The big Czech Padrnos is going to be an important source of power for Disco on the flats.

Well, Bodrogi is certainly a strong time trialist... but Zabriskie is flying! The bad thing about a time trial for Zabriskie is that he won't have a chance to conduct one of his patented, mid-race, one-question interviews with one of his fellow riders. "Friskie" Zabriskie fans will just have to be patient...

Ouch! The worst time posted so far is by Iker Flores (Euskaltel Euskadi), the climbing-happy Basque who was so active in the attacks last year. He came in 1' 58" behind Bodrogi. This gives you an idea of the big time gaps possible on this stage. Don't worry, Iker my friend, your day will come! Last year on the Yellow Jersey Tours (http://www.yellowjerseytours.com/) trip to the Tour de France, we all got to meet and chat with Iker Flores at the last time trial. He's a very nice man and a funny guy, though not a goofy as his older brother Igor (our guide who dragged us through the Alps).

1643 CEST - Whoa! Zabriskie has just smoked through the finish line with a time of 20' 51.84", a good 59" faster than Bodrogi!

Zabriskie might have just put himself in Yellow! Most of the peloton has yet to come, but that time will be very hard to beat. Only men like Armstrong, McGee, Ullrich, and Botero should really threaten it.

David "Friskie" Zabriskie has CSC in the lead - he has certainly set a challenging benchmark...the provisional top five:

1. ZABRISKIE (USA, CSC) 00:20:51:840
2. BODROGI (HUN, C.A) 59"
3. WAUTERS (BEL, RAB) 01' 24"
4. LANG (GER, GST) 01' 27"
5. BENETEAU (FRA, BTL) 01' 30"

Illes Balears rider Vladimir Karpets, the man who won the White Jersey last year, rolls onto the course. Karpets will be trying for the top ten in Paris.

Meanwhile, Karsten Kroon (Rabobank) sets a new worst time at 3' 36" behind Zabriskie. He must have had a flat or some problem out on the course. Or he has really bad legs.

1652 CEST - 45 riders have finished now. Lots of riders still to come. The last three riders will be Basso, Ullrich, and Armstrong. That should be realllly interesting.

Benjamin Noval (Discovery) sets a good time, actually... 5th best so far at 1' 28" back of Zabriskie. Respectable, that.

Noval will be happy with his finishing time. Last year, of course, he had a horrible team time trial where he was dropped early and had to ride most of the course alone. A crash had slowed him a bit then. Today, he seems to have his good legs and to be ready to make a big contribution in the TTT a few days from now.

By the way, Karpets is also a contender for the less notorious "Worst Haircut" prize.

One of today's favourites, Michael Rogers, who finished 2nd in the recent Tour de Suisse, will be starting at 18.14. And his Quickstep team are in the headlines of the Belgium paper Sportwereld. His manager Patrik Lefevere has reacted angrily to the news that Patrik Sinkewitz will be joining T-Mobile next season. "If I could drop him from the Tour team I would," he said.

"I had an understanding with his manager Toni Rominger and they have gone back on it - he will get no support from the team in this race," said Lefevere.

Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas) crossed the line well down on Zabriskie, at 2'30". While he's not a noted time-trialist, that still is a very ordinary result.

This of course is bad news for Michael Rogers, who had little enough support to begin with, since Quickstep have an eye on the Maillot Vert for Torpedo Tom Boonen.

Yes, Lefevre was not particularly tactful in announcing his intentions of getting rid of the stage racers for 2006.

So Quickstep doing a merry dance before the race has started... At last evening's Tour presentation, Tom Boonen of Quickstep was very confident when asked if he would try for the green jersey. "Yes, of course," he replied, "the jersey and stage wins are my big goal this season."

1709 CEST - Well here's a good measure: Popovych (Discovery) just went through second fastest at the 9.5km point... he's still 26" down on "Friskie" Zabriskie. That's a good ride by Zabriskie.

Sean Kelly is talking about the wind and warns that it may get windier as the day gets later. The wind of course will be the big factor today, as well as the unusual starting distance. At the 14.9km check, Popovych has faded to 5th at 49", but Karpets seems to be accelerating and is now 2nd at 44" at that point.

At last night's team presentation, mention was made of the fact that in 1993 Lance Armstrong was the youngest rider of that edition. As a trivia point, there are a number of riders in this year's race who competed in 1993 - Armstrong, Wauters, Brochard, Bortolami and Jaan Kirsipuu, to name a few. Kirsipuu rode for Chazal - Vetta MBK.

Karpets lost 11" to Bodrogi in the final 4km. That's a lot. Karpets now sits in 3rd at the finish at 1' 05", while Bodrogi is still 2nd at 59".

Meanwhile Michael Rich, the German champion, is going well and has caught his minute man Da Cruz. Rich is ideally suited to this distance and must be considered a good contender for a top three spot. Jose Azevedo (Discovery) goes through the 9.5km point 42" behind Zabriskie. He's a decent time trialist too. Wow, that Zabriskie time might hold up.

1723 CEST - Provisional top five:

1. ZABRISKIE (USA, CSC) 00:20:51:840
2. BODROGI (HUN, C.A) 59"
3. KARPETS (RUS, IBA) 01' 05"
4. GONZALEZ GALDEANO (ESP, LSW)01' 06"
5. GUTIERREZ (ESP, PHO) 01' 12"

The 35 year old Rich is very motivated, as is Vinokourov, who sets off looking very determnined. Vino is in the normal Magenta colours today in the Time trial - but on the road he will be wearing his national jersey, a cool shade of sky blue which will make him easy to pick out in the peloton.

Vino has been picked by many as a potential winner of this Tour. His victory recently on Mont Ventoux really was impressive.

T-Mobile (or Telekom in previous years) have had several national champions as race contenders: Vinokourov this year, Kloden as German champion last year and of course Jan Ullrich. Ulle was the 2001 German champion.

Now we see Jens Voigt, riding in his normal, all-out aggressive style, mouth open, legs like motor pistons. In contrast Vino looks very smooth and calm.

Chris Horner (Sauner Duval-Prodir) is on course. We Americans are expecting big things from "C Ho" in this race.

1732 CEST - Cooke for FdJ sets off, while Jose Azevedo (Discovery) finishes in 16th spot at 1'39'' and Michael Rich will not win today, Rich being 1'15'' down on Zabriskie's Point.

Zabriskie could not defend his Time Trial jersey this year since he was preparing for the Tour - but a yellow jersey would be adequate. Zabriskie had an excellent Giro, and his climbing has clearly improved in recent months.

Ullrich will be riding 56x11 today, depending on the wind, which is a slight headwind at the finish. I think I could turn over a gear like that. You know, like on the descent of Ventoux. Meantime, Vino looks very smooth, great straight back and solid form.

Well, I must say this is a good sight: Joseba Beloki (Liberty Seguros) rolls down the ramp - on the roads of the Tour de France for the first time since his crash in 2003. He's not a threat to win anything in this Tour, but just seeing him on the bike here is a happy sight.

Young gun Luis Leon Sanchez, Liberty Seguros, gets a 17th spot so far - we will be focusing on the White jersey throughpout the race this year.

1740 CEST - Horner goes through the 9.5km check in 37th at 55", not exactly setting the course on fire. Hopefully he's saving it for the mountains.

Vinokourov going very well, just 37'' behind Zabriskie at 9.6 kilometres. Vino passes his 2' man now, Galvez of Illes Ballears. Zabriskie is still the fastest at every checkpoint.

Voigt finished in third spot - CSC again doing very well. He's really pushing, and finishes over 1' back. Here comes Vino! He comes across in 21' 44". 2nd best at 53" back. Zabriskie is looking better and better.

Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) slogs along with his pearly teeth shining. He'll be pack filler today, but he'll be out for stages later in the race.

Of course Zabriskie did win the 45 km TT in this year's Giro, just 17 seconds ahead of Ivan Basso, his Captain. When asked what was the difference between riding for US Postal and Team CSC, he replied "Er, the sponsor?" He is a funny guy, Zabriskie.

1750 CEST - Zubeldia (Euskaltel Euskadi) crosses the finish in 42nd place. He doesn't have his good legs this year, it seems.

The current top ten leader board:

1. ZABRISKIE David USA CSC 00:20:51
2. VINOKOUROV Alexandre KAZ TMO 53"
3. BODROGI Laszlo HUN C.A 59"
4. VOIGT Jens GER CSC 01' 04"
5. KARPETS Vladimir RUS IBA 01' 05"
6. GONZALEZ GALDEANO Igor ESP LSW 01' 06"
7. GUTIERREZ José Enrique ESP PHO 01' 12"
8. RICH Michael GER GST 01' 13"
9. POPOVYCH Yaroslav UKR DSC 01' 17"
10. WAUTERS Marc BEL RAB 01' 24"

Horner finishes in 30th, 2' back of his compatriot Zabriskie.

Sinkewitz sets off - the Quick-Step car behind him may encourage him to ride very fast indeed. He should probably get used to that lonely feeling of riding alone in this time trial. (Wonder if Lefevre will be loudly revving the engine behind...) However, Lefevere has a different attitude to the departure of Michael Rogers: "The money he has been offered - I wish him the best of luck."

1757 CEST - Lance eats a Powerbar and talks to Hincapie, who is warming up on the trainer. Hincapie has been flying, taking two stages (including the Prologue) in the Dauphine Libere. Armstrong probably saying, "Ride strong, but if you beat me you're riding that bike back to the hotel." Armstrong of course, will be the last rider to set off today. Armstrong has a nice haircut this year. Looks good: the Jean Luc Picard look. Nice.

Beloki comes in at 22'56' - 33rd overall - well, that's not too bad from Beloki.

1802 CEST - O'Grady on the road now, one of 10 Australians in the race continuing a tradition which started in 1914. See our article on Australians in the Tour.

Beloki's time was about the same as Andreas Kloden's, so we can see that these 19 kilometres are already shaping the field. So I wonder if Zabriskie interviewed himself today. Bobby Julich (CSC) is now on course. He's a good time trialist, but I'm thinking his mate Zabriskie will beat him today. The Paris Nice and Criterium International winner has had a great season.

Basso is smiling on the trainer. He's a mellow guy while warming up for the time trials. Last year at the Tour, I was struck at how relaxed he seemed, interacting with the fans while men like Kloden were so focused they ignored even their mates. Savoldelli, winner of the Giro, sets off.

1808 CEST - Stuey O'Grady (Cofidis) isn't having a great time trial today. He's well down at the first check. Julich is looking very smooth on the long, straight roads. Here goes Landaluze (Euskaltel Euskadi). Landaluze won the Dauphine in a stunner a few weeks ago.

Landaluze was smiling and making faces on the start ramp. He's clearly under no pressure to repeat that Dauphine victory here at the Tour. Julich again on the Biopace chainwheel. Julich has a very long helmet as well. It looks like the head of the Alien queen from the movies.

Levi "Button-Fly" Leipheimer now hits the road. His time will be very very important today.

Up in a few minutes will be Michael Rogers (Quick Step), who is also riding some good form and hopes for a high place today.

Thomas Voeckler sets off to a huge cheer, his Bouygues Telecom team are based in this area, and Thomas has additional popularity due to his great ride in the Tour last year. Rogers sets off - the Rainbow jersey is on the road. Whoa! Rogers almost hit the barriers in a corner. Last year, he crashed in the Prologue by pedaling too soon coming out of a corner and his foot hit the ground.

He's still up and flying right now... looking good. Rogers had an unlucky Tour last year and crashed three of four times altogether; this year he hopes for better luck, but if he does get a high GC position it will down on his own efforts.

O'Grady is well back as he finishes. 22' 42" for O'Grady.

Hushovd wears the Norwegian Time Trial Champion jersey as he heads out. He is a hopeful for the Green this year. Last year he wore Yellow, but that is unlikely to happen this year with this long opening time trial.

1822 CEST - Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is on the climb over the bridge to the island. Now Landis (Phonak) sets out.

Hushovd is pushing a huge gear. We'll see if he can hold it. Leipheimer is only 29th at the first checkpoint. Not good. Valverde sets off! The Spanish star makes his Tour debut amid high hopes and great expectations.

Julich comes in 21'58 - 7th spot. Very good ride on a course that does not ideally suit his style. Hincapie sets off - a favourite for today's stage for a lot of fans. Big gears and long straights could suit his style.

Leipheimer was 45" down at that first check as the Big Hink heads out onto the course.

Savoldelli comes in 22nd spot - he will be pleased enough with that. Iban "Miracle Whip" Mayo (Euskaltel Euskadi) heads out. He is facing a daunting task today... he could lose big time.

1832 CEST - Honchar, former World Champ, is on the road, as is another big favourite, Brad McGee. McGee (FDJeux.com) is now one of the few men who has a hope of rivaling Zabriskie today to take the Yellow Jersey. He won the prologue two years ago.

Leipheimer comes across in 22' 05". That's ninth place, not bad, but not particularly good either, for a man with podium aspirations. Honchar, again with a huge gear, not exactly a stylist, but very effective.

Leipheimer was 1' 14" behind Zabriskie. He gave up 21" to Vinokourov. Rogers finishes, not that great of a ride today for the World TT Champ.

1837 CEST - The top leader board spots thus far:

1. ZABRISKIE David USA CSC 00:20:51
2. VINOKOUROV Alexandre KAZ TMO 53"
3. BODROGI Laszlo HUN C.A 59"
4. VOIGT Jens GER CSC 01' 04"
5. KARPETS Vladimir RUS IBA 01' 05"
6. GONZALEZ GALDEANO Igor ESP LSW 01' 06"
7. JULICH Bobby USA CSC 01' 06"

Mayo looks to be struggling. His position is high and he's taking too much wind in the chest. He'll be dreaming of the Alps. Hushvod in 124th - not a good ride, and Jaksche 63rd - disappointing for him too. Hushovd was clearly mailing it in today, just trying to keep inside the elimination time. Mayo is having a horrible ride. He's near the absolute bottom of the standings.

Botero heads out, the Phonak man again one of the very few with a hope of challenging Zabriskie. And wouldn't fans be thrilled if the blue eyed boy did...

1845 CEST - Now Cadel Evans sets off, he will be looking for a good ride today. Rogers' time was 1' 53" down on Zabriskie. He's currently 32nd at the finish.

Landis is coming in now... a good ride. 21' 53". That's top five for now. Well, a big shock about Rogers, Zabriskie's time looks better and better, as team mate Basso sets off. The big three are starting. Now only Ullrich and Armstrong are left.

McGee is pushing a big gear, but he's not pushing it over fast. Hard to tell how he's really going.

'RoboJan" the German wonder, is on the road. He'll be glad his team car is behind him... he smashed into the back of a team car a day or two ago. He's got scratches on his neck and face from the rear windshield. Ullrich was stunning in the TT in the Tour de Suisse, he is looking very fit and determined.

Armstrong on the starting ramp - Sheryl Crow on the barriers. Armstrong pops his foot out of the clip (in best Alex Zuelle style)! That will cost him, and get his adrenaline pumping.

Here comes the big Hink... 3rd best time! Great ride from "domestique" George... while Armstrong is recovered now and back into his typical style.

Ullrich grinding up that bridge in a huge gear, while Armstrong is tickling that high cadence as always. For the last time we see the two great rivals, Ullrich - big gear, Armstrong - high cadence.

The leader board as the big guns are on the road:

1. ZABRISKIE David USA CSC 00:20:51
2. VINOKOUROV Alexandre KAZ TMO 53"
3. HINCAPIE George USA DSC 56"
4. BODROGI Laszlo HUN C.A 59"
5. LANDIS Floyd USA PHO 01' 01"
6. VOIGT Jens GER CSC 01' 04"
7. KARPETS Vladimir RUS IBA 01' 05"
8. GONZALEZ GALDEANO Igor ESP LSW 01' 06"
9. JULICH Bobby USA CSC 01' 06"
10. GUTIERREZ José Enrique ESP PHO 01' 12"

Here comes Honchar... he's way down. Surprising that. 22' 38". Honchar 32nd - A bit disappointing for the Ukrainian. Mayo limps in... he's lost huge time... 157th at 24' 04". That's over three minutes. McGee 15th spot. Bad time by his standards. Cancellara passes Garate. A big favourite for the stage today, Cancellara is excellent against the clock.

1857 CEST - Totschnig in 96th - enourmous gaps opening up the field which should lead to attacking racing. Cancellara, wearing the Swiss national colours, powers down the long straight road.

Boonen - 34th, great ride by the torpedo. Basso only in 29th place at the 9.5km check. Not good. Ullrich 42'' down on Zabriskie. Wow! 30th place for Ullrich. Basso doesn't look so bad now! Cancellara also not matching Zabriskie's time.

Armstrong going well - he is only 3" slower that Zabriskie! He may catch Ullrich!

These times are all at the 9.5km checkpoint, mind you. Armstrong is freakin' spanking this course... if not for popping that clip, he'd have matched Zabriskie. And that time of Zabriskie's is well ahead of the rest of the field. A flotilla of vehicles behind Armstrong as he powers on. Dude, if Lance catches Ullrich that will be a big slap right on the first day! Whoa!

The whip has come down - unbelievable! Armstrong is closing down on Ullrich - the crash must have effected Ullrich more than he let on. Heras 72nd, he loses over 3' to Zabriskie.

Armstrong will catch Ullrich!

I would have never in million years have guessed this would happen. Cancellara 1'02'' down, but Ullrich is going all out to stay away... he's trying to hold Armstrong off... Armstrong is closing the gap very quickly. Only about 50 metres gap, the cars have been moved out of the way.

The helicopter shows how quickly Lance is closing now... Botero 22nd - he lost 1' 30" to Zabriskie... amazing.

The gap between Armstrong and Ullrich is down to 25 metres. To his credit, Ullrich is fighting hard... 10 metres, 5 metres, Lance has him! Lance passes him! Like a shot!

Armstrong is ahead of Zabriskie too on time! 3'' ahead of him at this point. Lance doesn't even give Ullrich THE LOOK, he just goes by him. Ullrich is holding Armstrong at about 20 meters. But slowly, Lance is pulling away.

Ullrich digging very deep, his accident may have affected him more than he thought. Armstrong looking very strong indeed. This is a crushing blow by Armstrong. He'll take about 3' out of most of the little climbers like Heras and Mayo. Basso comes in 18th spot, in 22' 17".

Next to finish: Lance Armstrong... will he beat Zabriskie? Armstrong swings into the final run - 2nd place. Zabriskie has won it! Armstrong only 2" behind... if he hadn't pulled his clip at the start, what would have happened? Ullrich in 12th spot!

So big Dave "Friskie" Zabriskie takes the Yellow Jersey, what a COUP for Utah. Four USA riders in the top 6 and Zabriskie becomes the third ever American to wear the yellow jersey (Lemond, Armstrong and Zabriskie). Lance will be happy taking so much time out of his big rivals, and his team won't even have to defend the Yellow tomorrow.

So Armstrong stamps his authority on the race, and Zabriskie makes his point. What a start to this Tour de France! And what a joy to see Zabriskie frustrate the French interviewer, as he has done to American journalists for years. Just a big grin, a few ironic and understated words, and a "you ain't gettin' more than that" look. Awesome.

Zabriskie says that he was suffering the whole time today, and he's surprised that he won. He says he's here to work for Basso.

Top 50 Results

1 Zabriskie David Csc Usa
2 Armstrong Lance Dsc Usa 00' 02"
3 Vinokourov Alexandre Tmo Kaz 00' 53"
4 Hincapie George Dsc Usa 00' 57"
5 Bodrogi Laszlo C.a Hun 00' 59"
6 Landis Floyd Pho Usa 01' 02"
7 Cancellara Fabian Fas Sui 01' 02"
8 Voigt Jens Csc Ger 01' 04"
9 Karpets Vladimir Iba Rus 01' 05"
10 Gonzalez Galdeano Igor Lsw Esp 01' 06"
11 Julich Bobby Csc Usa 01' 07"
12 Ullrich Jan Tmo Ger 01' 08"
13 Gutierrez José Enrique Pho Esp 01' 12"
14 Leipheimer Levi Gst Usa 01' 13"
15 Rich Michael Gst Ger 01' 13"
16 Rubiera José Luis Dsc Esp 01' 16"
17 Popovych Yaroslav Dsc Ukr 01' 18"
18 Mc Gee Bradley Fdj Aus 01' 24"
19 Wauters Marc Rab Bel 01' 25"
20 Basso Ivan Csc Ita 01' 26"
21 Lang Sebastian Gst Ger 01' 27"
22 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Dsc Esp 01' 28"
23 Hunter Robert Pho Rsa 01' 30"
24 Beneteau Walter Btl Fra 01' 30"
25 Botero Santiago Pho Col 01' 30"
26 Roberts Luke Csc Aus 01' 30"
27 Grabsch Bert Pho Ger 01' 31"
28 Arvesen Kurt-Asle Csc Nor 01' 32"
29 Sastre Carlos Csc Esp 01' 32"
30 Frigo Dario Fas Ita 01' 34"
31 Padrnos Pavel Dsc Cze 01' 34"
32 Savoldelli Paolo Dsc Ita 01' 35"
33 Sanchez Luis Lsw Esp 01' 39"
34 Azevedo José Dsc Por 01' 39"
35 Evans Cadel Dvl Aus 01' 41"
36 Cioni Dario Liq Ita 01' 46"
37 Grivko Andriy Dom Ukr 01' 46"
38 Scholz Ronny Gst Ger 01' 48"
39 Honchar Serhiy Dom Ukr 01' 48"
40 Boonen Tom Qst Bel 01' 49"
41 Moreau Christophe C.a Fra 01' 50"
42 O’Grady Stuart Cof Aus 01' 50"
43 Knaven Servais Qst Ned 01' 50"
44 Flecha Juan Antonio Fas Esp 01' 51"
45 Rogers Michael Qst Aus 01' 53"
46 Menchov Denis Rab Rus 01' 55"
47 Bernucci Lorenzo Fas Ita 01' 55"
48 Contador Alberto Lsw Esp 01' 57"
49 Facci Mauro Fas Ita 02' 00"
50 Krivtsov Yuriy A2r Ukr 02' 00"

Thanks for reading today, and see you tomorrow!!

Full Stage One results here.


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