Saturday, July 01, 2006


The final finisher of 176 starters in the Prologue of the 2006 Tour de France was Rubén Lobato, a Spaniard on the Saunier Duval team. His time was 9:27, 3 seconds in arrears of the penultimate finisher (Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner) and 1:10 behind the leader.

Lobato's speed over the technical 4.4-mile course through Strasbourg averaged 28.1 mph (for the benefit of us Americans who still think in Imperial units), while the leader averaged 31.9 mph.

Lobato, born September 1, 1978, became a professional cyclist in 2001 and joined Saunier Duval in 2004. Lobato won the King of the Mountains in the Tour de Romandie last year.

He may be starting the Tour in effect as the Lanterne Rouge, but at least (presumably) he's racing clean, and that puts him way ahead of anyone who hasn't been.

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