Cancellara wins prologue at Tour

Radioshack-Nissan rider Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland wears the leader's yellow jersey on the...

Radioshack-Nissan rider Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland wears the leader's yellow jersey on the podium after the individual time trial in the first stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race in Liege, June 30, 2012 (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel)

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, Last Updated: 7:46 PM ET

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara won the prologue of the 99th Tour de France on Saturday on the first day of competition at cycling's most prestigious race.

Cancellara remained unbeaten in Tour prologues and won the individual time trial of 6.4 km in 7 minutes, 13 seconds through the streets of Liege. It was his fifth Tour prologue win.

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins, a three-time Olympic champion, came in second seven seconds back as did France's Sylvain Chavanel. American Tejay van Garderen was in fourth place, 10 seconds back.

Defending race champion Cadel Evans of Australia finished in 13th place, 17 seconds off the pace.

Cancellara has bounced back nicely since breaking his right collarbone during a crash at the Tour of Flanders. He returned to competition on June 10 at the Tour de Suisse.

"This win today gives me a lot of motivation for what is yet to come," Cancellara said. "With the past that I've had after my crash [in April] and a difficult few months, I think that I couldn't ask for a better beginning than to have another win on the opening day. It's just great. I'm happy and, most of all, a lot of pressure has gone away."

The Tour, which comprises of 20 stages, plus the prologue, continues Sunday with a 198 km ride from Liege to Seraing.

The three-week race concludes July 22 with a finish on Paris' Champs-Elysees.

It's without two primary participants in Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador. Contador will miss the Tour as he serves a doping suspension that runs until August. Schleck will not be at the Tour because of a pelvis injury sustained at a race earlier this year.

 


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