The Latest: Nibali best among Tour favorites in 1st stage

Published Jul. 4, 2015 7:18 a.m. EDT

UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) The Latest from the first stage of the Tour de France (all times local):


6:41 p.m.

The day's big winner might well be Vincenzo Nibali. Among the four big favorites this year, the defending champ has been the fastest in the opening time trial.


Nibali clocked 15 minutes, 39 seconds to place 22nd on the 14-kilometer (8.6-mile) course in downtown Utrecht. That was seven seconds better than 2013 Tour champion Chris Froome.

Two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador was 15 seconds slower than the Italian champion, finishing in 15:54, and Colombian climber Nairo Quintana trailed three seconds further back.

It's a very long road before the race reaches the Champs Elysees in three weeks, but Nibali has the psychological edge.

''I had good sensations, and I'm satisfied I gained time on the other top favorites,'' he said.


5:47 p.m.

It's all over in Utrecht, where Rohan Dennis used his track credentials to upset all the favorites in the opening Tour de France time trial.

Dennis, who briefly held the hour record this year and also won silver in the team pursuit at the 2012 Olympics, was the sole rider to break the 15-minute barrier on the 13.8-kilometer (8.6-mile) urban course in Utrecht.

With his position on the bike almost immobile and an average speed of 55.446 kilometers per hour, the Australian set a new record for the fastest time trial ever at the Tour de France. He finished 5 seconds ahead of three-time time trial world champion Tony Martin.

Fabian Cancellara, another expert of the race against the clock, finished third, failing by six seconds in his bid to win the Tour opening stage for a record sixth time.


5:17 p.m.

Time trial specialist Tony Martin, a three-time world champion, said he suffered from the heat after missing the chance to grab the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.

The German's main goal this season was to seize the coveted jersey on the opening day of the three-week race and Martin did not try to hide his disappointment after finishing five seconds behind Rohan Dennis.

''I'm very, very disappointed. I wanted to win. Any other result is a bad one,'' Martin said. ''I feel that I couldn't handle the heat, especially in the second half where I felt weaker. It was hot but that's the Tour de France, it's in July and this time trial wasn't long enough for me.''


4:57 p.m.

With the temperature close to 35 degrees (95 Farenheit) in Utrecht, Vincenzo Nibali has found a way to keep his cool.

The defending champion is warming up on the rollers at his Astana team bus, with dozen of ice cubes attached to his back.

Nibali will be the last rider to start the opening time trial, at 5:17 p.m.


3:51 p.m.

With an average speed of 55.446 kilometers per hour, Rohan Dennis has set a new record for the fastest time trial ever at the Tour de France.

The previous record was hold by Chris Boardman. Nicknamed ''Mr. Prologue,'' Boardman rode the 1994 prologue on a 7.2-kilometer (4.5-mile) course with an average speed of 55.2 kilometers per hour.

At 13.8 kilometers (8.6 miles), Saturday's first stage against the clock is longer than the maximum distance for a prologue, which can't exceed 8 kilometers.

Dennis' new record could last less than a day as time trial specialists Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara have yet to set off in the Utrecht street.


3:40 p.m.

First in action among the favorites, Colombian climber Nairo Quintana has lost 61 seconds to current leader Rohan Dennis over the 13.8-kilometer (8.6-mile) course of the opening time trial.

The diminutive Quintana - a member of cycling's ''Big Four'' alongside defending champion Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador - is not an expert of the race against the clock.

''That was a very demanding race,'' said Quintana after completing the course for pure specialists in 15 minutes and 57 seconds. ''Yesterday I felt good. I don't know what my time is worth. I'm only interested to know where I stand compared to the other general classification riders, not the time trial specialists who are ahead of me now.''

Quintana, who finished runner-up to Froome in 2013, is bidding to become the first Colombian to win the Tour.


3:15 p.m.

Hit by a spectator during his final inspection of the Tour de France's individual time trial stage on Saturday morning, Reto Hollenstein will be on the starting line.

The powerful Swiss all-rounder was slightly injured in the crash but did not check in to the local hospital after being treated by his IAM Cycling team physiotherapist.


2:55 p.m.

Is Dennis a menace for the stage win?

Australian rider Rohan Dennis has set the leading time in the Tour de France's individual time trial stage.

Dennis is one of the favorites to win the opening stage and he completed the 13.8-kilometer (8.6-mile) route in 14 minutes, 56 seconds - making him 15 seconds faster than Dutchman Jos Van Emden.

Dennis has good credentials for victory as the former holder of the prestigious hour record, covering a distance of 52.49 kilometers in February.


2:20 p.m.

Saving the best until last?

Tour de France contenders Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali will set off on their individual time trials within four minutes of each other.

Contador, a two-time Tour champion, starts his ride at 5:13 p.m.

Froome, the 2013 champion, goes one minute later.

Then, after two French riders begin their runs, the defending champion Nibali will be the last rider to start at 5:17 p.m.


2:00 p.m.

Daniel Teklehaimanot will be remembered as the first athlete from Eritrea to compete at the Tour de France.

Teklehaimanot, one of the two cyclists from the Horn of Africa's country to enter the three-week race this year alongside Merhawi Kudus, kicked the opening time trial off in the streets of Utrecht.

Teklehaimanot is riding for the South-Africa-based outfit MTN-Qhubeka, a wild card entry at the Tour. It's the first time that an African team participates in the Tour.


1:00 p.m.

The 102nd edition of the Tour de France is upon us, with cycling's biggest race starting abroad for the 21st time, in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

The opening stage, a 13.8-kilometer (8.6-mile) time trial, is contested on a mainly flat urban circuit featuring many curves. The route is too long to be called a prologue but too short to create big gaps at the finish.

It's sunny and hot in Utrecht at the moment, with temperatures expected to reach 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit) in the afternoon.

Fans' favorite Tom Dumoulin will start his bid to upset time trial specialists Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara at 4:25 p.m. Eritrean time trial champion Daniel Teklehaimanot will be the first on the starting ramp at 2 p.m.