An exhilarating weekend opening for the 2012 Tour de France, which saw RadioShack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara take the Liege ITT Prologue win with Sky’s Bradley Wiggins in second and Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s in third. Wiggins, something of a TdF favourite this year, began his attack 11th last out on the 6.4km course with a time of 7minutes 20 (set by Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to beat, but finishing his run with the new benchmark set (and ten riders still to race.) Despite ultimately taking second once Cancellara had turned out, Wiggins saw himself well set-up for the coming days and without the undue pressure of being first in the overalls; always magnanimous Wiggins commented, ‘Fair play to Fabian, he’s the best in the world at what he does and I think he proved that again today.’
With a tough climb finish on Stage 1 (Day 2) it was Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan that crossed the line first after 198km of racing that, for a long time, had seen no clear leader. Prologue winner Cancellara took the second place (thus retaining his first overall standing) and Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen third, both on equal timings to Sagan. Misfortune with a puncture within 10km of the finish line saw Sky’s Chris Froome finish a disappointing 95th on the day, whilst last year’s champion, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), currently sits at eighth overall.
The TdF continues today (July 2) with the 207.5km leg from Visé to Tournai.