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Millar and Armstrong set target for Zülle

Switzerland's Alex Zulle hopes to catch British rider David Millar (pictured) Keystone

The Futuroscope theme park at Poitiers hosted an eventful prologue to cycling's Tour de France on Saturday. Hero of the 16-kilometre time trial was 23 year old first time Tour rider, Britain's David Millar, who scooped the yellow, green and white jerseys

With a time of 19.03, Millar, who rides for France’s Cofidis, faced strong competition from US Postal’s veteran, Lance Armstrong, who clocked up a time just two seconds behind the debutant to take the second spot. Armstrong, who has battled against cancer, won the tour in 1999.

Switzerland’s Alex Zülle, of Spanish team Banesto, has also been tipped as a potential Tour winner. He took sixth place in the prologue, 20 seconds behind Millar.

The other Swiss riders found themselves lower down the table. Laurent Dufaux, of Italy’s Saeco, came in at 77, 1.35 behind the leader, while compatriot and teammate Armin Meier was at 128, 2.12 behind.

Roland Meier, who also rides for Cofidis, grabbed the eighty-eighth position, 1.42 behind. Sven Montgomery, of Française des Jeux, who was fourth in June’s Tour de Suisse, came in at 103, with a gap of 1.54.

The last-placed Swiss rider was Markus Zberg, at 135, 2.16 behind.

Today’s first stage takes the riders 194 kilometres over the undulating route from Futuroscope to Loudun, and will give fans a better chance to compare the riders’ chances over a longer stretch.

by Jonathan Fowler

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR