US rider David Zabriskie beat the entire Tour de France field today in the Stage 1 individual time trial. Only former teammate, Lance Armstrong, got close to the 25-year-old, missing by just 2 seconds; the 3rd place rider came in 53 seconds behind.
In doing so, this quiet Utah native has become the first American to win a stage in all three of the Big Three Euro races — the Vuelta d'Espana last year and the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this year.
Meanwhile, four of this year's nine Americans at the Tour de France finished in the top six: Zabriskie (1, Team CSC), Lance Armstrong (2, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling), George Hincapie (4, Discovery), and Floyd Landis (6, Phonak). Other high US finishers include Bobby Julich, also Team CSC, finished 11th, and Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, 14th.
Zabriskie rode with Armstrong on US Postal Service from 2001 until this year, when he jumped over to Team CSC, led by Ivan Basso. American Bobby Julich is a teammate.
Although Zabriskie's win put him on the podium and in the yellow jersey after the first day of the Tour, the image I'll carry away from today is Armstrong closing the one-minute starting gap to nemisis Jan Ullrich and passing him. You have to wonder if Ullrich's collision with a team car Friday affected his performance.
So with one day down, Armstrong is in second place overall just 2 seconds behind Zabriskie. Among Armstrong's main challengers, Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) is in third place at 53 seconds behind Zabriskie, Ullrich is in 12th at 1:08 behind, Ivan Basso is 29th at 1:26 behind, and Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile) is in 51st at 2:01 behind.
Of course, with 20 stages to go, there's plenty of time to make up those deficits.