Spaniard Alberto Contador and other late starters in the Tour de France opening prologue time trial today now look to have a better opportunity of winning as Rotterdam weather has taken a turn for the worse.
Dark clouds, wind and rain moved in an hour prior to the start, though temperatures remain near 25°C.
Sky's Bradley Wiggins is one of the early starters with Americans Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing). Wiggins won the opening time trial of the Giro d'Italia in Amsterdam in May and held the leader's jersey for one day.
Evans' team-mate Bookwalter was a surprise second in Amsterdam.
"It's not an ideal course for me, more for the specialists," Contador said yesterday. "There are a lot of curves, requiring some changes of rhythm, a specialists course. I will not be thinking that I will be able to win, but perhaps I can take some time out of my rivals."
Geraint Thomas (Sky) is the 85th rider of 197 to start, beginning the 8.9-kilometre course at 17:39.
David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) start around 18:40. However, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia), Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo), Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Contador are late starters.
The bad weather system may move through by the time the later riders start, offering a better chance for Contador and others.
Of the late starters, Cancellara is favoured to win. The Swiss time trial specialist has won the opening day four times and held the yellow jersey for a total of 14 days.
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