It's a cliche but it's true; Paris-Nice really is the early-season race to the spring sun. And in the prologue it duly rained, but only enough to send the leader-board skewiff. Big powerful sprinter Thor Hushovd took 1st, which wasn't so surprising, as he got a nearly-dry run. The biggest surprise was Markel Irizar taking 2nd with a great TT during an early dry run. Luck plus talent almost pulled off a big surprise. And it was good to see McGee take 4th.
The top 15 looks like this (and especially take note of the Slipstream riders!):
1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 5.28
2 Markel Irizar (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.04
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.05
4 Bradley McGee (Aus) Team CSC
5 William Bonnet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 0.06
6 Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream Chipotle - H30
7 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Liquigas 0.07
8 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Team Milram 0.08
9 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC
10 Trent Lowe (Aus) Slipstream Chipotle - H30 0.09
11 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 0.11
12 David Millar (GBr) Slipstream Chipotle - H30
13 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step 0.12
14 Alberto Losada (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
15 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas
Slipstream have done a great job to load the top 15 with some talented TTers. Whilst some will fall back, watch Lowe and Millar hold position during the week. If they can keep with the early breaks then both will be in with a great chance at a top GC result.
There's more at CN:Already a winner of the prologue of the Tour de France – 2006 in Strasbourg – Thor Hushovd was the only rider able to beat the performance of Euskaltel-Euskadi' Markel Irizar, who was close to creating a huge surprise in the inaugural 4.6-kilometre time trial of Paris-Nice in Amilly. The 30 year-old Norwegian took the yellow leader's jersey with four seconds over the Spaniard and five over German Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) .
And Pez will eventually have a story here.