It’s here. Le Tour de France 2012 Prologue. The endless analysis is finally over, there’s rubber on tarmac, folks hanging over barriers and commentators getting their facts wrong, already.
David Harmon says you ‘never, ever, ever catch anyone in a prologue’ – ask Luc Leblanc about that one.
Chris Boardman, Lille, 1994 and Monsieur Leblanc was indeed given a view of the Briton’s rear wheel as that Lotus flashed past.
Boardman’s speed that day, 55.2 kph over 7.2 kilometres still holds as the prologue record speed.
I was wondering how, in a word of commentator superlatives, you top things being ‘super’ – it’s ‘super, super,’ of course, silly of me, really.
But no matter, it promises to be a great race.
As with the Giro there’s no absolute favourite – yes, there’s Wiggo and Cuddles.
But there’s no Lance or Alberto – the Giro was all the better for that fact with the winner not decided until the closing metres.
If the Tour is as good – I’ll be happy.
But let’s talk prologues.
And much as I hate ‘box ticking ‘ and ‘numbers’ chat – in prologues it’s all about watts.
I was chatting to Dan Fleeman (ex-DFL, Cervelo and Raleigh) and now Forme Coaching, he explained it like this;
“I would estimate close to 500 watts to win.
“Cancellara would be more than Wiggo.
“Wiggins threshold (what he can do for 1 hr) is 440-450 and Fabo would be 480-500; so for a 10 min effort I would say 10% above threshold so wiggins close to 500 and fab 550.
“Wiggins did 550 as a pursuiter for four and a bit minutes.”
But as well as watts there’s the technical aspect – whilst the course isn’t overly technical, it’s not just a boulevarde blast.
You have to be able to carry speed through corners to avoid having to waste energy in acceleration.
That’s where Sagan will score – his entry speeds on the corners are higher than most’s.
His build is made to be a bike rider – huge thighs, slender waist, big chest.
In the sprints he has a name as being crazy – and as I write this, he does a bit of the speedway stuff on a roundabout as the foot goes down.
But he can’t best the surprising Chavanel, who’s obviously in great shape for le Tour.
Tony Martin’s gear choice looks a tad heavy – in the QuickStep press release I received when he won the Tour of Belgium chrono, they said he was on a 58 ring.
All academic today – as he punctures; only 16 seconds off the pace with a bike change, that speaks for itself.
Wiggins – looking awfully stressed but poetry in motion once he’s off the ramp; flat backed, high cadence, smooth…
And a nice ride by Menchov in what isn’t his speciality – a warning sign there.
Hesjedal takes to the streets of Liege – he went awful deep in the Giro…
Van Den Broeck drops 20 seconds – and Brad goes top with 7:20 on the same second as Chava.
That’s not fast enough – it looks like Cancellara’s to me.
Cancellara’s cadence is high, the thighs are huge, the back is flat, he sprints out of the turns, the gear is manageable – perfect for getting back up to speed.
When the Suisse sprints home he’s seven seconds clear of Wiggins.
Cadel is focussed, speedsuited, and bikes don’t come much slippier than the Time Machine.
First bend, ragged edge stuff for the Aussie – he’s serious.
Nibali flashes in – not a bad ride at all.
Evans drops 10 seconds, that’s not bad at all, either.
Cancellara wins, Brad second, Chava third.
Viktor is happy but best not quote Dave – he’s not a Fab Fan.
But like it or not, it was all down to watts – Mr. Fleeman got that right.
And here’s Dan’s take on the day;
‘To be expected: Fab brill, Wiggo solid, Evans did the job.”
Valverde, Chava – and maybe even Gilbert?
Result - Le Tour de France 2012 - Prologue
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:11
6 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
7 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Argos – Shimano 0:00:12
8 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:15
11 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:16
12 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:17
13 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
14 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18
15 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Sharp
16 David Millar (GBr) Garmin – Sharp
17 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team
18 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:19
19 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan
20 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:00:20
21 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
22 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
23 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team
24 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
25 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos – Shimano 0:00:21
26 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team
27 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling
28 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
29 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
30 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin – Sharp
31 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:22
32 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
33 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale
34 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
35 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin – Sharp
36 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
37 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
38 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
39 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
40 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:23
41 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling
42 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
43 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team
44 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
45 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
46 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
47 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:24
48 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
49 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
50 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan
51 Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
52 Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
53 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
54 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
55 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin – Sharp
56 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:25
57 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
58 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
59 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
60 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
61 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling
62 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
63 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) Sky Procyclin