Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) captured his fifth Tour de France Prologue victory with a win in Liège, Belgium on Saturday. The individual time trial specialist had a time of 7:13, a full seven seconds better than the second place finisher, Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky. World time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) might have had a shot at besting Cancellara, but he got a flat and lost crucial time changing bikes.
Santa Rosa based Team BMC has to be happy with their captain's performance: defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) limited his losses and finished nine seconds behind the leader, good for 13th place. BMC's Tejay Van Garderen also had a good day, finishing 10 seconds out of the lead in fourth place. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Denis Menchov (Katusha) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) all also turned in good performances. Contenders Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan) and Bay Area local Levi Leipheimer both had dissappointing days, finishing 38 and 28 seconds back, respectively. Both men will have a lot of work to do when the race reaches the mountains.
Stage 1 is on Sunday, with a flat run from Liège to Seraing for the sprinters. Look for Team BMC to focus on keeping Evans out of any trouble.