Liège – Liège (6.4km) Click for route map
These posts are mostly an appreciation of the places the Tour de France passes through (this year, its 99th year, starting in Belgium before it reaches France) – a way of recording places that look worth a visit on our travels. Along the way, however, we cannot but watch the progress of the amazing cyclists and in particular we will again be cheering British riders Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, both hotly tipped, along with David Millar, Chris Froome and Stephen Cummings – plus of course Team Sky.
Liège (click picture for a larger view)
Liège, although a busy city, has several points of interest. Today’s aerial coverage showed extensive views including the Palace of the Prince-Bishops, the Parc d’Avroy (a landscaped green lung in the city centre built on an artificial island on the River Meuse) and the modern (2009) Liège-Guillemins railway station clearly visible in the panoramic photo above. The River Meuse runs through the beautiful French and the Belgium Ardennes forest, which we visited as a family just a few weeks ago, before reaching Liège and eventually the River Rhine and the North Sea.
Last year I didn’t post on the Tour de France as we were on holiday. Travelling through France to Spain we occasionally came across places which either had or were due to host the Tour as it came through. The closest we got to seeing any action was at Limoux where the barriers were being erected for the following day and we saw the Française des Jeux coaches. We also saw the Movistar and BMC coaches in the car park of the Kyriad Hotel in Carcassonne we had slept in on our outward journey and wondered who was staying in our room! As for viewing the cycling we caught the end of several races on the big screen of our campsite bar in Catalunya – and were able to cheer on Mark Cavendish, but sadly not Bradley Wiggins who had crashed out with a broken collarbone.
For the record today, although time trial supremo Fabien Cancellara won it was very good to see Bradley Wiggins in 2nd place, thus well in contention at the start of the Tour to do battle with his general classification rivals.
The top five after the prologue
After 6.4km of racing in the 99th Tour de France:
1. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) RNT – 6.4km in 7’13.470 (53.2km/h)
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) SKY at 7″
3. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) OPQ at 7″
4. Teejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 10″
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) SKY at 11″
Team placings after the prologue
1. Team Sky Procycling
Jerseys for Stage 1
Yellow – Cancellara
Green – Cancellara (worn by Wiggins)
Polka Dot – not awarded
White – Van Garderen
For more information on the cyclists, their teams and how they were placed see the Tour de France official site.
Read my TDF posts covering this and previous years.