Lance Armstrong Starts Tour de France Strong, Calls 1-2 Finish, Too


Thanks to the New York Times, we all know it was the small electric motor hidden in his downtube which allowed Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara to power his way to a win in yesterday’s Tour de France prologue.

The world time-trial champion blew away the rest of the field on the 5-mile course through the streets of Rotterdam to finish ahead of German rider Tony Martin — a first-second finish that Lance Armstrong had predicted the day before on his Twitter.

With the prologue finished, today’s first regular stage of the race is a flat and long 224 kilometer slog south from Rotterdam across the Belgian border into Brussels. Expect beloved Versus announcers Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen to practically wet themselves over the prospect of yet another British stage win from Isle of Man sprinter Mark Cavendish, and provide endless buildup about the green jersey points race between Cavendish and American upstart Tyler Farrar.

Thankfully, the flat-stage sprint monotony will be broken up during this first week of the Tour with some nice gimmicks this year (classic climbs of the Ardennes, cobblestones), but for now, sit back and enjoy a couple of hours of pointless breakaways followed by a few thrilling minutes of bunch sprint madness.

Around the cycling press…

Cancellara had a nice smartass response to UCI officials who scanned his bike for an electric motor after the prologue, reports’s Gerald Churchill: “You better scan me because I am the motor.”’s Daniel Benson reports that Armstrong is “pretty content” with his fourth-place finish which put him ahead of all his rivals for the overall Tour victory.

British cyclists David Millar and Geraint Thomas, third and fifth, were pleased with their performances in the prologue, reports’s Gregor Brown. It’s an encouraging result for the young Welshman Thomas, who hopes someday to win prologues.

New York Times writer Juliet Macur talks to Armstrong, who says the latest doping allegations didn’t inspire his great result which, he admitted, came as something of a surprise.