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94th Tour de France - ProT

France, July 7-29, 2007

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Prologue - Saturday, July 7: London - London, 7.9km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Laura Weislo and Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 16:30 CET
Estimated finish: 19:30 CET

14:31 BST   
Hello cycling fans. Welcome to the live coverage of the 94th Tour de France. Shortly the riders will be rolling out of the start house for the 7.9 kilometre run through London.

Photo ©: David Reinhardt
(Click for larger image)

14:38 BST   
Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins sent in a weather report from the streets of London's city centre:

After weeks of unsettled weather - resulting in one of the wettest June's in British history and the postponement of the National Championships - the sun is finally shining on London.

Today's forecast is for virtually unbroken sunshine and a maximum 22 degrees. Riders may be slightly hampered in the middle section of today's course by a 20kph westerly wind, but this will assist them in the last three kilometres as they turn back along the Serpentine Road towards the finish.

The outlook for tomorrow is slightly cloudy, but the wind will lessen to around 5kph from the South West.

14:41 BST   
The atmosphere in London is festive today, and even the riders were getting into the spirit thanks to the enthusiastic crowds. Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow spoke with Stuart O'Grady, who gushed about the support of his countrymen. The Paris-Roubaix champion said, "What a fantastic welcome to London. I reckon there were a few thousand Aussies out there and they gave us a great reception. It was a real buzz."

14:44 BST   
The CSC rider also clarified his objectives for this Tour, which is to work for his team's chance at overall victory. "Despite many selecting me as a contender for the Maillot Vert, I won't be going for green. I have a job to do looking after Sastre and he has good form. But I'm sure there will be opportunities to go for a stage win."

14:48 BST   
Cyclingnews' blimp Hindenburg V2 is on the ground today because of the security concerns in London, but no worries since the course is short enough to watch from comfort of one of the many pubs nearby. We're hanging out with the laptop and a pint of Bishop's Finger and a plate of chips!

14:54 BST   
At 7.9 kilometres in length, the course is too long perhaps for a sprinter to win, but short enough for the them to stay close enough to gain the leader's yellow jersey on time bonuses.

Robbie McEwen told John Trevorrow this morning that he's not going to try for a win today. "I will give it a 95% effort. I don't want to go over the edge and burn my legs for the next day. I've got to be realistic as I know I'm going to lose a bit of time.

"It's going to be a short first week with only six days until the Alps so my plan's not to worry about the yellow jersey and go for stages and if it comes my way it will be fine, it would be good, no it would be great. But it's not the goal in itself."

15:00 BST   
London is, of course, home to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, who sometimes resides in Buckingham Palace - the grand palace the race course will pass by today. However, the tour won't get her famous demure wave today, as she is not at home. Ben Atkins informs us that the Union Jack is flying at the palace, which means that she's not there. He reckons she's watching Le Tour on TV from Windsor Palace.

15:01 BST   
Enrico Degano is the first rider to roll down the ramp today for the Barloworld squad. He takes a deep breath and exhales through puffed cheeks as he powers off to take on his first Tour de France.

15:02 BST   
Big crowds line the course all along the route today - Degano gets big cheers from fans packed three deep as he heads past Buckingham palace.

15:05 BST   
Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval) and Daniel Navarro (Astana) are the next riders to head out into the surprisingly beautiful weather for this Tour de France prologue. While none of these early starters are favoured to win, they are getting strong support from the spectators.

15:06 BST   
The start list can be viewed on our prologue profile page.

15:11 BST   
Degano is coming down the final stretch with a time just over ten minutes. He's looking pretty gassed at the end of the prologue which he completed in 10'20".

15:12 BST   
Willam Bonnet (Credit Agricole) is next on course, looking strong and smooth as he pushes that big gear down the opening straightaway. Most of the riders will be using rear disc wheels with some sort of tri-spoke wheel on the front, and Bonnet is no exception.

15:14 BST   
Bonnet is a pretty handy time trialist - he took second place in the TT at the Four days of Dunkirk. He lost by just twelve second to Tour prologue favourite Bradley Wiggins.

15:16 BST   
Waiting his turn at the start house is Rabobank's Oscar Freire. Freire's been suffering from a recurrence of a cyst in his groin - something that can be downright painful to anyone, but especially so to someone who has to spend five hours a day for three weeks on a tiny saddle.

He's told reporters today that it's getting a bit better, and he's going to try to stick the race out and hope it clears up.

15:21 BST   
Navarro came in with the fastest time so far, clocking a 9'48. But he was quickly surpassed by Willems, who came in with a 9'45. Meanwhile, Bonnet set the fastest intermediate time with a 5'27. That was a good 10" faster than Willems' time.

15:23 BST   
Discovery Channel's Lithuanian powerhouse Tomas Vaitkus is out on course. The team is sporting a special jersey for the Tour de France, one that has some green in it to signify their new initiative to be 'carbon neutral'.

15:27 BST   
The German National time trial champion Bert Grabsch is on course pushing a gigantic gear. He has to avoid a traffic sign that sits in the centre of the road, but fortunately, he's the only rider on that section of road and was watching for it.

At the finish, Freire is coming in with a respectable time. He's not going to unseat Bonnet.

15:29 BST   
Vaitkus came in just six seconds behind the current leader, William Bonnet (Credit Agricole). Bonnet averaged 50.2 kph to get into the 'hot seat'. He's safe for now as Grabsch comes in with a 9'43.

Current standings

William Bonnet (Crédit Agricole) 09.26
Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 09.44
Tomas Vaitkus (Discovery Channel) 09.32
Frederik Willems (Liquigas) 09.45
Daniel Navarro (Astana) 09.48
Enrico Degano (Barloworld) 10.20

15:32 BST   
We're just about 1/6th of the way through our 2007 Tour peloton, with the Discovery Channel rider Sergio Paulinho being the next rider to set out on course. He's chasing three Frenchmen who started right before: Sprick, Bichot and Augé.

15:37 BST   
Speaking of Frenchmen, AG2r is riding for their captain Christophe Moreau, who is enjoying a boost to his long career after a spectacular win in the Dauphiné Libéré.

One of Moreau's domestiques, Australian Simon Gerrans had a bit of illness prior to the Tour, but made the AG2r Tour team. He told John Trevorrow this morning, "I was up against it a little to get a start this year and I'm glad that it's come together. It was a bit touch and go after [Tour de] Swiss, I got a little bit crook but I'm fine now. My main role is to work for Christophe, he's our big hope and he's going well. He's aiming for a podium finish and I'll be doing everything to support him."

15:39 BST   
We've got some familiar names coming up now - American Chris Horner is looking relaxed on the start ramp, even though he's being chased by Stuart O'Grady (CSC) and Axel Merckx (T-Mobile). He immediately gets into a low aero tuck and speeds off. He takes the first turn extremely hard and nearly brushes the barricades at the exit of the turn, but he's a great bike handler and it's no problem.

15:42 BST   
Bonnet is still in the hot seat, and rider after rider is coming through just shy of his time. Paulinho came in 9'34, Sprick at 9'38... Stuart O'Grady is out on course, but won't have any aspirations for a good finish in the prologue as he is dedicated to the service of his team leader Carlos Sastre.

15:45 BST   
One rider who might be able to top Bonnet's time just rolled down the start ramp - it's Paolo Savoldelli, a two-time Giro d'Italia champion and a rider who is strong against the clock. He's been a bit under the weather the past week, but he is looking quite strong.

15:46 BST   
We have a new best time!! Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has come in with just two seconds faster than Bonnet at 9'24.

15:49 BST   
Oh no! We have a crash! Stuart O'Grady took the turn too wide and crashed right into the plastic road dividers. He immediately got up and started riding. He just clipped his right foot on the barricade, knocking it loose - it looks like the barricade knocked him off his line just enough to send him into the next barrier.

15:50 BST   
Even though he fell down, O'Grady still comes in with a 10'13 - soft pedaling the last half a kilometre. Crashing on day one is not the way you want to start the Tour de France!

15:52 BST   
O'Grady is fine - he's being interviewed after the finish, sounding philosophical about his wreck. "That's life," he told the French reporter.

15:55 BST   
Paolo Savoldelli comes across in 9'28 - a solid time, but not shy of our fastest time by 4" and destined to put him well down on the leader board by the end of the day.

16:01 BST   
Astarloza is still sitting atop the leader board as we see Australian Simon Gerrans get ready to roll down the ramp. In just a few minutes we'll see David Zabriskie set out on course. The 'Z-man' is a good candidate for the podium today, but will have to get each and every corner just right.

Zabriskie is the current US time trial champion and has the stars and stripes on his kit and clear lenses over his eyes. He gets on top of the gear immediately and up to speed. O'Grady hit the fastest intermediate time, and was probably setting time checks for Zabriskie when he crashed.

16:04 BST   
Vladimir Karpets is chasing Zabriskie, and he is another dark horse for this prologue. He's very good against the clock, he has two time trial wins in Castillya e Leon and Alentejo this year, a second at Catalonia and more recently the overall win at the Tour de Suisse. He's setting style trends out there with his cool black kit and long hair waving in the wind.

Current standings

1 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 09.23 (50.52 km/h)
2 William Bonnet (Crédit Agricole) 09.26
3 Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) 09.28
4 Tomas Vaitkus (Discovery Channel) 09.32
5 Sergio Paulinho (Discovery Channel) 09.34
6 Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile) 09.43
7 Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 09.44
8 Frederik Willems (Liquigas) 09.45
9 Daniel Navarro (Astana) 09.48
10 Enrico Degano (Barloworld) 10.20

16:06 BST   
Zabriskie has to stop pedaling for a second as he flies over two speed bumps. He's looking quite fast and is now the fastest intermediate time at 5'24 - two seconds faster than team-mate O'Grady.

16:10 BST   
You can see photos of the team presentation or read Tour de France news while you're waiting for favourite rider to start.

Dave Z is in with JUST the fastest time. He faded a tad over the last half and came in fractions of a second ahead of Astarloza at 9'22.

16:11 BST   
Karpets is still out on course just ripping around the turns. He's not afraid to take risks, and hardly slowed down for a quick right-left-right combination. He's heading into the finish with a very fast time... on the final straight with sub 9'00 but it's a long way off.

16:13 BST   
And he gets the new best time by a startling 9.16.22!!! Excellent work by the Russian - his Caisse d'Epargne team will be holding their breath for the next almost two hours before that last rider, Oscar Pereiro, comes in.

16:16 BST   
Discovery's Yaroslav Popovych is out on course now - rocking his body as he powers a smaller gear than most on his way out. 'Popo' hasn't quite lived up to the promise in the Grand Tours that won him the white jersey a few years ago, but you can't count out the Ukrainian.

16:19 BST   
Belgian Philippe Gilbert sprints into the finish, gnashing his teeth in agony while he tries to eke a few more powerful pedal strokes out of his legs. But his time is 9'33.

16:21 BST   
Our tech editor, James Huang, has sent in some nice photos of some of the time trial machines being used today. You can see David Millar's Scott and Brad Wiggins' Time as well as the Barloworld team bikes here.

16:24 BST   
T-Mobile sprinter Bernard Eisel is the next one to set out for the 7.9 km torture-fest. The sprinter spent some time in the USA where he won the Lancaster and Reading races, and nearly won the Philadelphia International to take all three races of the Triple Crown, but was worked over by the CSC team who delivered JJ Haedo to the win.

16:27 BST   
Robbie McEwen is coming into the 3km to go point. He has to hop over those speed bumps and is looking unhurried with his efforts. He still has to go hard in order to make the time cut, but he certainly isn't trying to win. He's saving his legs for tomorrow's potential sprint finish in Canterbury.

16:30 BST   
The rider who has worn the yellow jersey more days than any other rider starting this Tour de France, Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), is looking relaxed as he is interviewed by French TV. He's going to try to limit his losses today and go for the breakaways - like the one that gave him 10 days in yellow in the 2004 Tour de France.

16:35 BST   
McEwen eased his way across the line pushing just under 10 minutes. Eisel looks to be saving his legs to lead out Manxman Mark Cavendish and comes in just about ten seconds faster than McEwen.

Voeckler is out on course, and is going to be chased by Russian Vladimir Gusev - Gusev plowed his way to a mountain top stage win in the Tour de Suisse last month. He's in the red-sleeved kit of the Russian time trial champion - quite the versatile rider!

16:39 BST   
French veteran Cedric Vasseur (Quickstep) comes in with a 9'43 - a long way off of Karpets' time. His compatriot Matthieu Ladagnous is coming behind him with a respectable start to his first Tour de France. He's not going to set any records with that 9'54, but he gives a big smile after the line after completing his first Tour stage.

16:43 BST   
Cyclo-cross racer John Gadret will be the next rider to hit the London streets. The super-thin French rider for AG2r has shown some good form on the road this year in the Ardennes classics: 8th in La Flčche Wallonne, 15th in L-B-L and 4th in a stage of the Tour of Romandie.

16:44 BST   
Holy cow! Vladimir Gusev brutalizes his bike as he mashes into the lead with a 9'15!

16:47 BST   
Gusev certainly has diverse talents. 4th in Paris-Roubaix before being disqualified in the railway crossing incident in 2006, wins a mountain top stage in Tour de Suisse this year, and now is in the hot seat of the Tour de France prologue? Incredible.

16:52 BST   
Rik Verbrugghe (Cofidis) will be heading down the start ramp momentarily. It's been a while, but he did win a prologue in 2001 at the Giro d'Italia. He's had a few unproductive years, but some Belgian fans are hoping he gets a surprise win here in London.

16:53 BST   
José Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) in the bright red and yellow Spanish TT skinsuit nearly clips the same barrier that took down O'Grady, but makes it through for a solid 4th place in 9'23.

16:58 BST   
We're over halfway through the 189 rider peloton and already we have a tight situation on the leader board.

1 Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) 09.15 (51.24 km/h)
2 Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) 09.16
3 David Zabriskie (Team CSC) 09.22
4 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 09.23
5 William Bonnet (Crédit Agricole) 09.26
6 Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) 09.28
7 Sébastien Rosseler (Quickstep-Innergetic)
8 Tomas Vaitkus (Discovery Channel) 09.32
9 Antonio Colom (Astana) 09.33
10 Sergio Paulinho (Discovery Channel) 09.34

As Maxim Iglinskiy, winner of a stage in the Dauphine, comes in 17th at 9'36. The placings are separated by just seconds or even fractions of seconds. That makes it all the more heartbreaking when you miss out on the win because just one miniscule adjustment or a tighter turn could spell the difference between victory and defeat.

17:02 BST   
Alberto Contador, winner of this year's Paris-Nice, is heading over the speed bumps past the halfway point of this prologue course. Ahead of him, Rik Verbrugghe is setting a good time, but he's going to be short of the lead - he comes in 9th with 9'29 - a good ride for the Belgian.

17:03 BST   
Alejandro Valverde will be starting soon - he told French TV that he just doesn't want to crash. He's got a bad history with that - crashing last year and breaking his collarbone early on in the Tour. If he makes it to Paris this year, it will be his first time finishing Le Tour.

17:06 BST   
Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins is in London with us and like everyone else he is enjoying the warm weather. He reports that there are many families in Saint James Park having picnics while watching the race on the big screen TV.

When asked about the number of people watching along the barriers, Atkins reported, "There are fans all along the course and it is four to five deep in most places."

"It pretty warm but there is it a bit of cool breeze," he summarized regarding the weather.

17:08 BST   
Coming to the line, Contador nets a 9'25 to put him into 6th place for the moment.

Out on course, Valverde, takes the first turn a bit gingerly. That will cost him time, but not as much time as a broken bone to be sure. He's riding cautiously, almost timidly, through each turn and then mashing the pedals to get back to speed on the straightaways.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: David Reinhardt
(Click for larger image)

17:12 BST   
Soon to enter into retirement, Rabobank's Michael Boogerd is heading into the finish with a so-so time. His 9'53 is uncharacteristically sluggish for the Dutch rider with the distinctive teeth.

17:16 BST   
CSC's strong man Jens Voigt comes across the line with his mouth agape - he gets a 9'38.56. Just behind, Valverde is on his way to the line and is surprisingly fast - a 9'33 which is good for 14th place. Valverde is borrowing from the Tom Boonen school of style, and is sporting a bit of facial stubble today... could that be a secret aerodynamic advantage?

17:21 BST   
Daniele Bennati is in the house - the start house that is. 'Bennati the hottie' as the Cyclingnews female staff like to refer to him, is gunning for the yellow jersey in the first week. He had a stellar prologue in the Tour de Suisse, where he lost by a few seconds to world champ Fabian Cancellara. (For more about Daniele Bennati read Gunning for green.)

17:27 BST   
Last year's king of the mountains, Michael Rasmussen, is the next to start, and is looking like he's lost the weight he was carrying around at February's Tour of California. He's a famous weight weenie, who once bought his own carbon bars because they were lighter than the ones his team provided. It's rumoured that he shaves all of his body hair to shed weight - we'll be sure to send our reporter Brecht Decaluwé to the showers to gather evidence... or maybe not...

17:30 BST   
Bennati is coming in to the finish, and while not near the lead, he's got a promising 9'33 - a few time bonuses could still get him yellow.

Andreas Klöden is now setting out - and he'll be followed by Aussie Brett Lancaster. He's starting his first Tour, and told John Trevorrow he was excited about the prospect, saying, "It's starting to hit me now. I hadn't really felt much after a good Giro and 65 days of racing this year, so I've sought of gone into it relaxed. But now, in front of these big crowds, I'm starting to get a bit excited."

17:32 BST   
Former Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc is here in London. "It is a very happy atmosphere. I am happy to be here, even if I am not working."

Klöden is still out on course. His back is rocking as he pedals... Maybe his saddle is too high?

17:33 BST   
Fränk Schleck (Team CSC) is approaching the final kilometre.

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) noted... "this is great" of the parcours.

17:35 BST   
There are 44 more riders to finish.

17:36 BST   
Gusev's lead is safe from Schleck, and he comes in with a 9'47... not super, but he hasn't lost too much time.

Yowza - Andreas Klöden has the fastest intermediate time by eight seconds! The German is looking smooth and powerful - his disc wheel humming along the straightaway. He's 'co-captain' with Vinokourov officially, but if he keeps this up he might be the outright leader of the Astana team after today.

17:38 BST   
Klöden is comes into the finish and Gusev goes down! 9'03 - spectacular!

17:44 BST   
The big American George Hincapie is heading out to take on London. He was second to Thor Hushovd in last year's Tour prologue over a similar distance, and wore yellow after gaining time bonuses. He's through the intermediate check 2" behind Klöden.

Bradley Wiggins
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

17:45 BST   
Ben Atkins is Cyclingnews' man on the street. He noted that there are a "lot of Russians and eastern Europeans" walking around the parcours. And "lot of Spanish and a lot French.

"There are a lot of people in London for sight-seeing and then realizing 'hey the Tour is here.' But they appear to be still trying to get their sight-seeing done."

"Everyone here really wants Wiggins," continued Atkins. Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) is a local boy and to learn more about him read Home soil victory chasing.

Also read Tourist's Guide to London.

Current standings

Intermediate times (km 4.6)

1 Andreas Klöden (Astana) 5.14 (52.74 km/h)
2 George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) 5.21
3 Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) 5.22
4 Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) 5.22
5 Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) 5.23
6 David Zabriskie (Team CSC) 5.24
7 Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) 5.25
8 Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) 5.26
9 Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) 5.26
10 William Bonnet (Crédit Agricole) 5.27

Provisional results (km 7.9)

1 Andreas Klöden (Astana) 09.03 (52.39 km/h)
2 Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) 09.15
3 Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne) 09.16
4 Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas) 09.22
5 David Zabriskie (Team CSC) 09.22
6 Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne) 09.23
7 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 09.23
8 Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) 09.25
9 Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) 09.25
10 William Bonnet (Crédit Agricole) 09.26

17:47 BST   
Hincapie is looking low and mean as he comes into the finishing straight in green and blue. He lost a few more seconds over the second half, and comes in with 9'13 - good for second place!

17:52 BST   
David Millar rolls down the ramp to a huge cheer from the London crowds. He's wearing some sharp shoe covers in black and white. He's chasing first time Tour rider and fellow Brit Geraint Thomas of Barloworld. For more read No doubting Geraint Thomas.

Millar's bike can be seen in our recent tech feature.

17:54 BST   
Right behind Millar is Alexandre Vinokourov who will reveal in the next nine minutes whether he is co-captain or domestique to Klöden. Vino is ahead of Erik Zabel and Belgian hero Tom Boonen.

17:57 BST   
There are now only 13 more riders to start the prologue of the 94th Tour de France.

17:58 BST   
The crowds of London are going insane for Bradley Wiggins, who just started. The pursuit world champion has a perfect, tight aero position which allows him to slice through the wind. Unlike the velodrome, however, this course has some technical challenges. We'll see soon if he's up to the test!

17:59 BST   
Millar was 11" down at the intermediate check, and it's one sentimental favourite that goes under - he comes in 9th...

Now Vinokourov comes in and he's sprinting to the line and throws his bike to get 3rd place with 9'20.48.

18:01 BST   
Wiggins is looking extremely smooth - his director is screaming at him from the team car in French while steering with one hand. The crowds are lifting their hero to a very fast time - 3rd at the intermediate check.

18:03 BST   
Tom Boonen is grinding his way to the finish and gets out of the saddle to sprint to 36th place... he will have to get a lot of time bonuses to wear that yellow jersey in Belgium on Monday as he's at 9'38 - 35" down.

18:05 BST   
You can tell exactly where Wiggins is by listening to the gigantic roar that has followed him around the course. He's in the final stretch now, but already behind the time of Klöden. He's third - just behind Hincapie!

18:06 BST   
Moreau has started. For more on the Frenchman read Christophe Moreau hopes for spotty Tour.

18:06 BST   
Cadel Evans is on his way to the Tour, and he comes off the ramp in a full on sprint - pulling on the bars with all his might as he dashes into the first turn. After placing second in the Dauphine, he is one of the favourites, but isn't too stressed. He told John Trevorrow, "I'm pretty relaxed about it [being a contender]. The form is good and I feel the build up as been better than the last two years so it's a matter of being alert in the first week and then we will see what happens when we hit the Alps."

18:10 BST   
Chrisophe Moreau is experiencing the pain that is a Tour de France prologue, tongue out as usual. He's not known as a fabulous time trialist, so he'll be trying to limit his losses.

And now with Menchov, Evans, Cancellara and Rogers also on course, Pereiro sets off as the last rider to take the Grand Depart.

18:12 BST   
All will be revealed in the next few minutes - can the World Champion unseat the German? Andreas Klöden doesn't hope so - he has never won a Tour de France stage.

18:13 BST   
Cancellara is through the intermediate check with a HUGE time - seven seconds faster than Klöden!!! 5'07 - WOW!

Moreau is coming in with a 9'39 - a respectable effort.

18:14 BST   
Cancellara takes the twisty turny bits with easy and is simply flying! Menchov doesn't stand a chance, and he's in with 9'30. Cancellara is leaning his bike putting his knee out and zipping through the final turns.

18:14 BST   
The World Champion rainbow stripes are a blur as Cancellara rockets down the final kilometre. Evans doesn't look that fast, but he's in with a great time for him - 9'26.

18:15 BST   
Cancellara SMASHES the fastest time - he sprints to the line with an 8'50!!! Fan-tastic! That's an average of 53.7 kph!

18:17 BST   
We still have Pereiro to finish, but he's nowhere near Cancellara with 9'27. The CSC rider now leads Andreas Klöden by 13" with Hincapie 23" back.

The World Champion certainly rode to the standard of that jersey today, Cancellara having started the year quite unremarkably but gaining his Tour form just in time.

18:19 BST   
Well that's it for our live coverage of what David Millar called a "magical" start to this years' Tour de France. Stay tuned to all the live coverage here at Cyclingnews at noon CET.

Provisional results (km 7.9)

1 Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC)                08.50 (53.7 km/h)
2 Andreas Klöden (Astana)                     09.03 
3 George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)         09.13
4 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis)                   09.13
5 Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel)          09.15
6 Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne)         09.16
7 Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)               09.20
8 Thomas Dekker (Rabobank)                    09.21
9 Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas)                 09.22
10 David Zabriskie (Team CSC)                 09.22
Intermediate times (km 4.6)

1 Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC)           5.07
2 Andreas Klöden (Astana)                5.14
3 George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)    5.21
4 Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis)              5.21
5 Vladimir Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne)    5.22
6 Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel)     5.22
7 Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne)      5.23
8 David Zabriskie (Team CSC)             5.24
9 Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)             5.25
10 Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC)             5.26


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