We it is the first day of the mass starts, another day another country. After a rather wet Prologue yesterday the riders will leaveRotterdam then it is off island hopping along the coast before heading inland near Antwerp and over the plains of Belgium to Brussels.

I expect Tour favourite Alberto Contador to be paying close attention at the front. This may be the first stage of the Tour but he’ll be remembering another coastal stage last year. It was only Stage 3 of the race but rounding a corner 31km from the line Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia team were pushing the pace at the front when a change in wind direction caused a break in the peleton. On 27 including all nine of Cav’s team and Contador’s then team mate Lance Armstrong but not the man himself. By the line the gap had grown to 40secs a time that can make a difference in General Classification (GC) so exect to see all the GC contenders, not just Contador, paying attention near the head of the race today.

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