Saturday June 30th, 2012

PrologueLiège / Liège

Start 14h00 GMT 2+

Time for Phil Gil?

Sporting stakes30.06.2012Prologue- Liège / Liège

After his success on the historic prologue of Liège, Fabian Cancellara could acquire a taste for yellow jersey and try – as he's done in the past – to defend his overall lead in the Tour de France as far as possible. In 2007, the Swiss rider had worn the maillot jaune for seven days. The challenge starts today and the success gives his RadioShack-Nissan team a small quandary: how do they defend the lead of general classification.
The profile for the final stanza of the stage to Seraing on Sunday could be critical in how Cancellara's team opts to ride.
Going on his performances of 2011, all eyes will be on the darling of the cycling fans in the Belgian Ardennes, Philippe Gilbert. It was near Seraing that ‘Phil Gil' proved to be a force in April 2011 when he won the triple crown of the Amstel Gold Race, la Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
In the prologue he gave a hint that his form is improving: ninth in the time trial is an impressive result for a rider who has never really specialized in this discipline. Furthermore, his motivation is going to be high as this is his part of the world. That said, he's not hidden from the fact that he's at the Tour to help Cadel Evans win the title again. And we should remember that the stage that the Australian won in 2011 (on the Mûr-de-Bretagne) was on similar terrain to what we have at the finish of the race to Seraing.
Other riders to watch will include Tour debutant Peter Sagan who is able to win on all kinds of terrain. And, although there's been talk of how the gradient at the end could influence the result, some pundits suggest it might suit a sprinter like Matt Goss or Edvald Boasson Hagen. Or, to nominate another name of a rider capable of winning on the final rise, why not consider the first leader of the Tour in 2008, Alejandro Valverde...?

Prologue Liège / Liège

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