Belgian Classic Specialists Expected to be on Top
Tour de France Stage 1 from Liege to the Belgian town of Seraing features five (5) category 4 climbs including an uphill finish into Seraing with an average grade of 4.7% over the last 2.4km. At 198 kilometers or 123 miles, Stage 1 is reminiscient of (though not as hard as) Belgian classics such as the Amstel Gold or Liege-Bastonge-Liege. Look to riders with powerful uphill finishes to take today's stage 1.
Among the one-day specialists, riders like Philipe Gilbert of BMC, Peter Sagan of Liquigas, Maxim Iglinski of Astana (winner of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2012) or Dan Martin of Garmin-Sharpe are possible winners. Mark Cavendish, who has made a concerted effort to lose body weight and get lean since the Giro, may also figure prominently in Seraing.
Certain Tour de France contenders for the yellow jersey may also do well on Stage 1. Cadel Evans of BMC is a past winner of La Flèche Wallonne race; Alejandro Valverde of Movistar won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2008; and Frank Schleck of Radioshack finished 2nd at Liege in 2011. Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky has also been known to turn a pedal in anger winning the uphill finish this year of Stage 1 at the Tour of Romandie. Likewise, Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas soloed to second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. With no bonus points available for stage winners, however, the Tour de France favorites are likely to play it safe.
First King of the Mountains Jersey to Be Awarded
A total of give (5) King of the Mountains points will be awarded during today's stage from Liege to Seraing. One point will be awarded to the first rider to reach the top of each of today's 4th category points. The likely winner and Polka Dot Jersey wearer will be an opportunistic rider from the breakaway that is sure to form at the start of today's stage. But with only 5 points available today, the real King of the Mountains contenders will probably not show themselves.
Tour de France Stage 1 Results
With about 1.5 km to go on the uphill stretch into Seraing, the orders came from the RadioShack team car for Yellow Jersey wearer Fabian Cancellera to give it a go. Sparticus went, and only two riders could follow, Peter Sagan and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Cancellara and his followers formed an immediate gap over a diminished main field that included GC contenders Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Bradley Wiggins and Dennis Menchov. The Yellow Jersey practically begged Sagan to pull through, but the Slovenian refused like a lion about to take it's pray. With about 200 meters to go and the main field closing quickly, Cancellera gave it another go only for Sagan to come around and win the stage with seeming ease. With the win, Sagan will donne the green jersey of the sprints competition leader, as Cancellera retains both the Yellow Jersey and the Green Jersey.
While you cannot win the Tour in the early stages, it can definitely be lost. The big losers of the day included GC contender Chris Horner who dropped :55 and Luis Leon Sanchez who lost over four (4) minutes in a crash.
Stage 1 - Top 10 Finishers
|1||Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale||4:58:19|
|2||Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan|
|3||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling|
|4||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team|
|5||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team|
|6||Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team|
|7||Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team|
|8||Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp|
|9||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp|
|10||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep|
General Classification after Stage 1 (Top 10 and Favorites)
|1||Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan||5:05:32|
|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||Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team||0:00:13|
|7||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team|
|8||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:00:17|
|9||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:18|
|10||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp|
|11||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:00:19|
|14||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||0:00:22|
|18||Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep||0:00:23|
|29||Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:00:26|
|31||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team||0:00:28|
|34||Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:29|
|35||Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Sharp||0:00:31|
|36||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar||0:00:33|
|39||Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:35|
|45||Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan||0:00:38|
|48||Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi||0:00:40|
|53||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||0:00:45|
|54||Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-QuickStep|
|81||Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan||0:01:29|