After todays early skirmishes on the 8,9 km prologue course in Rotterdam we may not know how the next three weeks are going to play out but we did get some pretty interesting sneak peeks. Throughout the Tour we will be looking at some of the winners and losers of the day. Here are today's champs and chumps.
On the attack
Lance Armstrong. The man is 163 years years old and he hasn't really impressed in a TT since his comeback last year but today, following lots of extracurricular nonsense that would throw most guys off their game, he delivered a very solid prologue that looked very much like a 1999-2005 performance. Finishing in front of all of his younger, serious rivals for the win he sent a pretty clear message that he is not to be underestimated this year. I'm pretty sure that got some worried looks from the other team cars?
Tony Martin. In another flashback to the old days, Lance's most impressive GC rival on the day was a German Panzerwagen capable of a thundering timetrial. He may not have won the stage in the end but even if you could see the disappointment when he had to abandon the hot-seat to the irrepressible Cancellara you have to think that Martin goes to bed smiling tonight. HTC has shown that they will not only contest the sprints in this Tour. With Martin on red-hot form and Rogers in the wings they will certainly be relevant in the GC -race as well.
Off the back
Bradley Wiggins. Unless you hadn't noticed there are only two timetrials in this years Tour and today was one of them. So, if you are a TT specialist with designs on a podiumplace in Paris it would make sense to take the day very seriously wouldn't it? Instead Brad chose to tread carefully and not take any risks. Is that really something he could afford to do? Surely giving time away to practically every GC competitor except the Schlecks was not the smartest move in the world?
Andy Schleck. Ok, so he was never a rocket on the TT-bike and opening day prologues can be notoriously tricky sometimes but Andy looked decidedly unimpressive today. In a race that will most certainly be about small margins in the end, giving up this much time over so few kilometers is a bit careless. In a year where he has been looking pretty anonymous, everyone is counting on him to arrive at this race 100% ready to challenge Contador for the victory. His performance and comments today did not instill confidence that he has.
"Bof. Those of us out here in the daylight don't read too much into puny prologues. It's a long race"