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Fabian Cancellara wins prologue of 99th Tour de France
Promising young Slovak rider Peter Sagan briefly skipped off the road and lost time.
The victory offered a bright spot for Cancellara’s RadioShack Nissan Trek team, which is without its leader Andy Schleck of Luxembourg — sidelined by a spinal injury sustained in the Criterium du Dauphine this month. The team is also without manager Johan Bruyneel, who’s been listed in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case also focusing on Armstrong. Bruyneel chose to stay away so as not to be a distraction.
In a further embarrassment, Enrico Carpani, a spokesman for cycling governing body UCI, said it received information from several RadioShack riders that they had faced delays in receiving some salary payments. RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens said he believed they had been paid, “and if not, there is a reason for it.” He called it a “private issue.”
Brushing aside the team’s issues, Cancellara said he was focusing “on what I have to do — and that’s riding my bike.” He said the victory, which he dedicated to his pregnant wife, was doubly rewarding because he broke his collarbone in the Tour of Flanders in April and wasn’t sure he’d be at his best for the Tour prologue.
As defending champion, Evans had the honor of riding last among the 198 competitors who rolled down the starter’s ramp for the race against the clock in the cycling-crazed city, where untold thousands of fans lined the route.
Sunday’s first stage takes riders over a mostly flat, 123-mile loop from Liege to the nearby town of Seraing.
By Tammy Bruce
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