Saturday, July 7, 2007

Tour de France: Prologue

London 7.9 km

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Tour de France. Also, welcome to the first post from the Group News Blog Sports Desk.

Our motto here at GNB Sports is of course, Fuck the Fucking Yankees, something which makes no sense at all when yelled at a bunch of world-class cyclists screaming by at 60 km per hour. But as the Tour de France this year starts in London, moves through England, Belgium and finally arrives at the French city of Compiegne where the classic Paris-Roubaix race starts, while I'm stuck here covering the race from Seattle, my screaming at my television about the Yankees will hopefully not upset the world-class peloton. Which is used to being yelled at anyway.

Here, you try it: Fuck the Fucking Yankees. Good. Well done.

A few coverage notes. If you want to watch the outstanding TV coverage on Versus Television, it typically airs four times a day. LIVE first thing in the morning ET. Then repeated throughout the day in slightly shorter versions, and then an evening expanded version. The morning show is anchored by the best team in English-speaking cycling broadcast journalism, Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen. The expanded evening coverage (in past years) has been anchored by Bob Roll and Al Trautwig, with Phil and Paul only on tape for the final klicks of the evening via tape from the morning.

We will be posting most days INCLUDING THE TOP TEN FINISHERS AND LEADING RESULTS OF THE DAY, shortly after the stage winner for the day has crossed the finish line. We will not be waiting for the full peloton to come in, nor will we be waiting for later broadcasts. If you want to watch on-air coverage later without knowing the results, don't read TDF posts which have Stage designations, e.g.: Tour de France: Stage 1

Again -- we will be posting stage results as we know them. These posts are designated as TDF posts with a STAGE DESIGNATION in the headline, e.g.: Tour de France, Stage 13

There will not be any spoiler designations within the post; we are going to talk about what happened. So, fair warning. This post is a post about the Prologue, and in three or four paragraphs, we'll start talking about what happened.

We will do some Tour posts which are about drugs, gear, and other topics which strike my fancy, and have little to do with the results. These will not have a Tour de France headline.

One final coverage note. It is possible we may be late in getting posts up some days. If so, we apologise in advance. We'll do our best to get coverage up as soon after a stage win as possible, but we shall see what happens. This whole blogging thing, like on a daily basis... it's new. Even with four of us, it's a trip, okay. So we'll see how doing a daily post on a live event goes. *shudders* I mean, "Oh joy, this will be fun!"

So, with that out of the way...

Today's prologue, besides being held in London, and keeping the Queen trapped in her castle for the duration, was a great kick off to the Tour. 189 riders started the Tour. If history is any guide, 1 Prologue, 20 Stages, and 2 rest days later, roughly one-third of those riders will be gone.

The American favorite, Levi Leipheimer sits only 40 seconds back. His teammate, the old man of the Discovery Team, George Hincapie, came in third, 23 seconds back. Andreas Kloden kicked ass with a time of 9:03 in second place. And world-champion in the Time Trial, Fabian Cancellara, the enormous Swiss starts the tour back in yellow again with an absolutely amazing time of 08:50, wiping the field by 13 seconds.

Tomorrow morning the Tour starts for real with Stage One, viewable LIVE in the United States on Versus, Sunday, July 8, 5:30 - 8:00 AM ET.

Here are the video highlights from today. More great Tour coverage at VeloNews.

See you tomorrow for Stage 1. Time to go bicycling with my kids!


1 033
CANCELLARA, Fabian SUI CSC 00:08:50.000 00:00:00.000
2 196 KLÖDEN, Andréas GER AST 00:09:03.000 00:00:13.000
3 114 HINCAPIE, George USA DSC 00:09:13.000 00:00:23.000
4 149 WIGGINS, Bradley GBR COF 00:09:13.000 00:00:23.000
5 113 GUSEV, Vladimir RUS DSC 00:09:15.000 00:00:25.000
6 015 KARPETS, Vladimir RUS GCE 00:09:16.000 00:00:26.000
7 191 VINOKOUROV, Alexandre KAZ
AST 00:09:20.000 00:00:30.000
8 054 DEKKER, Thomas NED RAB 00:09:21.000 00:00:31.000
9 157 QUINZIATO, Manuel ITA LIQ 00:09:22.000 00:00:32.000
10 169 VAUGRENARD, Benoît FRA FDJ 00:09:22.000 00:00:32.000