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Tour of California - 2.1

USA, February 19-26, 2006

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Prologue - February 19: San Francisco ITT, 3.1km

Commentary by Kristy Scrymgeour, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski

Complete live report

09:46 PST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the inaugural Tour of California. For its first year the tour has managed to attract seven of the biggest teams from Europe to race alongside eight US teams and a Mexican team. The tour starts with a 3.2km prologue today and gradually heads south over the next week finishing next Sunday in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles.

Big name riders such as Bobby Julich (CSC), Floyd Landis (Phonak), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) Paolo Salvodelli and Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery), Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) and Gilberto Simoni (Prodir-Saunier Duval) are lining up giving the tour excellent credibility in its first year.

After rain, hail and snow in San Francisco over the last couple of days, the riders will be happy to have woken up to a perfect sunny day this morning. Its a little bit chilly for those who have traveled from the Southern hemisphere but its perfect for everybody else.

The Prologue is 1.9 miles (3.2km) in length and starts at Pier 1, where the San Fransisco GP has started in recent years. It heads along the embarcadero and is flat for the first couple of kilometers before turning left on Stockton St which is gradually up hill for a few blocks. It then turns left onto the famous Lombard St which is a very steep ascent and then winds around up to Coit Tower for the finish. A nice short prologue to find the first yellow jersey wearer for the week.

09:59 PST   
Only 4 minutes until the start now. Jackson Stewart (Kodak Gallery Sierra Nevada) will be setting the pace as first off the line. He'll be followed by Steve Zampieri (Phonak) a minute later and so on until World Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers (T-Mobile) hit the road at 12:06pm as the last rider.

10:05 PST   
ok Stewart is off and on his way to Coit Tower. The crowd is pretty big already for a Sunday morning. Lots of people wandering around the start checking out the teams and their time trial bikes.

10:11 PST   
Cyclingnews caught up with Frankie Andreu from the newest team out of the US - Toyota United Pro Cycling Team. They are predicting that Mariano Friedick and Heath Blackgrove could have good rides today. Blackgrove is a New Zealander and has the advantage of coming straight from summer. He's already won three or four races down there this year and comes into the race very fit.

10:19 PST   
A few other riders from the Southern Hemisphere are Michael Rogers and Scott Davis riding for T-Mobile. Both of them have been in Italy where they are based for a while now. We caught up with them yesterday and they are looking forward to this tour. They liked what they have seen so far. Another is Australian National Time Trial Champion Nathan O'Neill, riding for Health Net p/b Maxxis. Its very likely that he will post a good time today.

So far Viatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery) has posted the fastest time of 5'14". O'Neill has just started his ride.

10:22 PST   
O'Neill has just started on the climb and is out of the saddle already. He's turning left onto Lombard st which gets really steep. He looks good as he heads towards the line.

10:23 PST   
Woah, O'Neill is down with 150m to go.

10:24 PST   
He was climbing and just overdid the corner and lost it, bringing himself down.

10:25 PST   
He's straight up and crossing the line. He has still posted the fastest time - 5'10" but he won't be happy with that.

10:27 PST   
Mark McCormack is on the course now. Riding for Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Homes, McCormack is good at these sharp bursts too and could post a good time here.

10:29 PST   
Aaron Olsen (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is on the start line now as McCormack is out of the saddle going up the steep part of the climb.

10:31 PST   
McCormack's heartrate is 175 as he nears the top of the climb. He is just getting to the top where it gets really steep. His HR goes up to 179. You really want to max out of these short efforts. He posted a time of 5'25".

10:34 PST   
Bernhard Kohl has started his ride in the mean time for the T-Mobile team.

10:37 PST   
Kohl is just in at 5'17, but O'Neill's time was broken by Riccardo Ricco (Prodir Saunier Duval) who posted a time of 5'10.53.

10:38 PST   
Fabian Cancellara (CSC) is now on the course.

10:39 PST   
Caleb Manion (Jelly Belly) just finished with a time of 5'27".

10:40 PST   
Scott Moninger has also crossed the line in 5'20.29.

10:42 PST   
Cancellara has set a new best time of 5'03.19!

10:47 PST   
Jason McCartney (Discovery) has just moved into second place with a time of 5'03.69 - just behind Cancellara.

10:52 PST   
Tim Johnson is on the course now for Health Net.

10:54 PST   
Andre Korff (T-Mobile) finished with a time of 5'23.87

10:56 PST   
Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Phonak) has taken over O'Neill's time and moved into fourth now with a time of 5'10.83

10:58 PST   
Tom Danielson is on course now for Discovery. Tim Johnson just finished with a time of 5'17" and Jens Voigt posted 5'26".

11:00 PST   
Up at the tower, crowds of people line the street. There are barriers on either side of the road on the way up and the crowd is thick on both sides. Lots of screaming going on! A nice atmosphere.

11:01 PST   
Danielson just finished on equal time with Jason McCartney. So they are tied for second place at this point.

11:03 PST   
Danielson was flying up to the finish and just passed his minute man Olivier Kaisen (Davitamon Lotto) on the finish line.

11:09 PST   
Aaron Olsen (Prodir Sierra Nevada) is in at 5'18". Michael Dietrich Kodak Gallery Sierra Nevada posted 5'20". Stuart O'Grady (CSC) is getting ready for his start now.

11:11 PST   
Scott Davis just finished with 5'48". Michael Barry is on course now for Discovery.

11:12 PST   
Stuart O'Grady is on the course heading up the steep part of the hill. He has a full TT set up so obviously hoping for a good time in this prologue.

11:15 PST   
Viktor Rapinski (Colavita Sutter Homes) is on course. He could post a very good time for this domestic US team.
O'Grady has crossed the line in 5'09.70.

11:16 PST   
That time moved O'Grady into fourth place so far just behind McCartney and Danielson who are equal second place. Cancellara still holds the lead time.

11:18 PST   
Michael Barry just finished in 5'11.23

11:18 PST   
A win for Cancellara would be no surprise being a former winner of the Prologue at the Tour de France.

11:19 PST   
Rapinski finished in 5'20"

11:22 PST   
Don't forget that Cancellara is also a two time Jr. World TT champion (1998-99) and is considered a bit of a TT specialist.

11:24 PST   
Frank Hoj (Gerolsteiner) finished with a time of 5'13.07.

11:27 PST   
The crowd at the start let off a huge scream as Christian Vandevelde (CSC)started his prologue. He is the 86th rider to start today so we have 41 riders remaining at this point.

11:28 PST   
Michael Creed, now riding for TIAA Cref after a stint with Discovery last year.

11:31 PST   
Fabian Wegmann is coming up to the start line. He would be rather fond of this city after winning the San Francisco Grand Prix last year.

11:32 PST   
Christian Vandevelde just crossed the line with a time of 5'10.87 and Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon Lotto) topped that with a time of 5'07.87 moving straight into 4th place.

11:36 PST   
Vladmir Gusev (Discovery) has now moved into 4th place with a time of 5'05.22.

11:42 PST   
Robert Hunter (Phonak) just moved into 5th place on the road with a time of 5'07.06.

11:43 PST   
Brice Jones, Gord Fraser, Mark Walters and Bobby Julich are now on course. Tony Cruz (Toyota-United Pro) just finished with a time of 5'29.92. Time to beat is still 5'03.19 held by Cancellara.

11:44 PST   
Brice Jones finished in 5'45" and Fraser in 5'09.46

11:46 PST   
WOW - a new fastest time set by Bobby Julich. He posted a 4'58.19!!!!

11:48 PST   
Julich's time is 5 seconds faster than Cancellara.

11:50 PST   
Paolo Salvodelli (Discovery) has moved into 5th place. His time is 5'04.83.

11:55 PST   
Chris Baldwin (Toyota United Pro) is on course. National Time Trial Champion but this course may be a little short for him.

11:57 PST   
Coming up is David Zabriskie. But Floyd Landis has just finished in second place so far with a time of 4'59.55.

11:58 PST   
Chris Baldwin just finised with a good time - 5'10.83

12:01 PST   
New Zealander Hayden Roulston (Health Net/Maxxis) has just finished with a time of 5'04.10 moving straight into 5th place. A nice start for the kiwi.

12:03 PST   
Zabriskie (CSC) has just finished with a time of 5'05.80. Third place.

12:04 PST   
Hincapie is in with 5'59.11. Second place now.

12:06 PST   
Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto) finished with a time of 5'05.16.

12:08 PST   
Julich, Hincapie and Landis hold the top three right now. We still have a few to finish though including World Champion Michael Rogers.

12:09 PST   
Another new best time!!!!! Levi Leipheimer has just finished with a time of 4'53.43 Very happy with that one!

12:13 PST   
Rogers is in now finishing in 30th place. He didn't look like he was really going full on at the top. So Levi takes the stage and the first ever yellow jersey of the Tour of California.

12:14 PST   
When he crossed the line he looked at the time and then raised number 1 to the crowd.

12:20 PST   
Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back every day now to give you the latest updates from the Tour all the way to Los Angeles.

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