Stage 1 is in the books. With no prologue for the first time in decades, the peloton rode through Brittany on a 197.5-km stage with four Cat-4 climbs and an uphill finish with the maillot jaune up for grabs. Two American teams made the start, Team Columbia and Team Garmin-Chipotle .
With a steep finishing mile favoring a rider with explosive acceleration, the first stage of the Tour de France seemed tailor-made, several riders predicted last week, for a cyclist like Alejandro Valverde.
The Spanish national champion who is the leader of the Caisse d’Epargne team proved them right Saturday. Valverde won the 121-mile stage across Brittany from Brest to Plumelec, accelerating past a fading Kim Kirchen in the final 100 yards to take the first yellow jersey of the 95th Tour de France
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