Fourth place in the prologue and time into rivals is less important than positive feelings for seven-time Tour winner
Fifth place, just 22 seconds behind winner Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank, made RadioShack captain Lance Armstrong the best performer of all the overall race favourites in today’s Tour de France prologue. The American seven-time winner finished 5 seconds ahead of defending champion, and former teammate, Alberto Contador (Astana), 17 ahead of World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), 33 ahead of Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and 47 ahead of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank).
Although the course was just the first 8.9 of a total of 3642km, and entirely flat, Armstrong proclaimed himself satisfied with his day’s work.
“I’ve got to say I’m happy,” said Armstrong after the race. “I’m happy with the results and happy with the feelings, which are maybe more important than the results. Everything from the start of the day through the warm-up just felt solid.
“I got a little lucky with the weather,” he admitted. “As you can see it cleared up a little bit and I had some dry corners.
“All in all good. Took time on some of the main rivals. Here we go.”
Comparing himself to the others in the race was difficult since many of them rode in different conditions. Comparing himself to the rider he was a year ago, when he lost time to many of his rivals over a tougher course, almost twice the length of today’s race, Armstrong is in a better place to judge.
"I wasn’t the best out there today but I have to say it’s the best I’ve done since the comeback,” he said. “I think I’m a little ahead. There are a lot of differences [in his preparation for this year's race] but at least I had races in June. I think racing in June closer to the Tour is a good idea.
“I think I’m where I need to be,” he concluded.
Armstrong’s experience and tactical understanding should keep him out of trouble in the mostly flat stages of the next week, even over the cobbles of stage 3. The first real rendezvous for the overall contenders will be on stage 7 to Station des Rousses, one week from today. While the climb to the finish is ranked as just 2nd category, it will give the seven-time winner – and the rest of the World – much more of a clue as to whether he has a chance of adding an eighth title than today’s entirely flat race.