Tune in at 8:00 AM ET for coverage of the Tour de France Prologue. Rob Sturney will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
I'm Rob Sturney here with the prologue start of the 2012 Tour de France, the 99th edition.
We are in Belgium, Liege in fact, for a short - even for a prologue - individual time trial of 6.4 kilometres. It's the same route RadioShack's Fabian Cancellara won on in 2004.
This marks the first shots fired between the GC favourites: Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Frank Schleck, Robert Gesink, Denis Menchov, Vincenzo Nibali, Ryder Hesjedal, Sammy Sanchez, Alejandro Valverde and Levi Leipheimer
Cancellara has most recently won prologues in 2010 and 2007. He also won stage 1 of the 2009 Tour, but it was 15.5 kilometres and considered to be too long for a prologue.
We've got several recent national time trial champions on display today: Cancellara (Switzerland), Lieuwe Westra (Belgium), Tony Martin (Germany), LL Sanchez (Spain), Denis Menchov (Russia), Peter Velits (Slovakia).
Tom Veelers of Argos-Shimano was the first person to ramp out on Avenue Rogier. He's already been bumped down the board. Currently, Andriy Grivko (Ukraine/Astana) is the leader at 7:28.
The final eleven to go today: Wiggins, Coppel, Taaramae, Peraud, Hesjedal, Nibali, Scarponi, Sammy Sanchez, Voeckler, Cancellara, Evans.
Wiggins is looking to be the favourite in this Tour. He's won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie and the Criterium Dauphiné this year. He nearly caught his two-minute man, Cadel Evans, in the Dauphiné's time trial.
Some believe Evans is too cagey, and just that much better in the mountains than Wiggins, and will repeat as champion.
Everyone talks about the 100+ km of time trials this years and that there's only three summits finishes (stages 7, 11 and 17), but there are also the most HC, Cat. 1 and Cat. 2 climbs since 2008.
We won't see any categorized climbs until tomorrow. It'll be the men in the breakaway scooping up the single KOM points at the tops of five Cat. 4's.
If Cancellara does, in fact, win today, it'll be a nice distraction for RadioShack-Nissan. Johan Bruyneel is NOT in France as he and Lance Armstrong are facing an investigation from the U.S. Anti-doping Agency. Things have been tense between Bruyneel and the Schlecks this year as well.
Saxo Bank and Garmin have new title sponsors and will be flashing new jersey colours. Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, or Saxo-Tinkoff, has yellow on their mostly blue kits. Garmin-Sharp has a new red stripe. I don't think there's any argyle on the kits anymore.
Grivko still has the fastest time at 7:28. Germany's fantastic young sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) has slotted in with the second best time. Keep an eye on him in his debut Tour.
So what predictions do viewers have out there?
Let's hope that crashes don't leave such a hole in the GC this edition as with last year. The 2011 Tour saw Kloden, Wiggins, Vinokourov, Brajkovic, Horner and Van Den Broeck withdraw through injury while Contador, Gesink, Leipheimer and Sammy Sanchez lost time after crashes.
I'll be with you liveblogging the Tour de France up to stage 15 this year.
There goes Jens Voigt! It's his 15th Tour de France, but BMC's George Hincapie is about to ride his 17th. He'll eclipse Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk who finished 16 Tours, won in 1980, came runner-up six times (!), and took 10 stages along the way.
We'll be in Belgium for the first three days before starting our clockwise journey around France.
Forty-year old Jens Voigt is in second now, just four second back of Grivko.
Immediately after that Brit Steve Cummings of BMC knocks Voigt out of second place.
Former world time trial champion Bert Grabsch (Germany/Omega Pharma-QuickStep) looks displeased with his performance. He came in 11 seconds slower that Grivko which should put him in tenth.
David Millar was too ill to attend the team presentations, but he's ready to roll with the new red stripe of Garmin-Sharp.
I've noticed that out of the top 20 of this year's Giro d'Italia, only five riders are here at the Tour: 19) De Greef, 16) Dupont, 5) Basso, 4) Scarponi and the pink jersey winner Ryder Hesjedal.
David Millar is having a superb ride. He might take over the lead here.
Millar doesn't quite make it. He'll usurp his compatriot Cummings in second though.
This would be a good course for Lars Boom or Svein Tuft, but neither are here. Meanwhile, Brett Lancaster, an Aussie from Orica-GreenEdge, took the best new time. 7:24.
I'm anticipating a good green jersey battle between Cavendish and Peter Sagan, though it's unclear whether either of them will stay in the race all the way to Paris, as the end of the race is only five days ahead of the Olympic road race. Sagan surprised many by winning the prologue at the Tour de Suisse.
Sagan won five stages of the Tour of California and four stages of the Tour de Suisse in 31 days.
Boasson Hagen, double winner last year, looks to be flying out there.
Boasson Hagen just nips Lancaster, beats him by 6/100 of a second.
Boasson Hagen isn't the Norwegian TT champ, but he is the road race champion.
Paul and Phil were talking about how they think Boasson Hagen has the wrong jersey number. It's all right by my information. #105 is currently #1.
Stuart O'Grady just took a corner with utmost care. Are Orica-GreenEdge's uniforms slightly changed for this Tour?
So right now it's Boasson Hagen, Lancaster, Grivko, Millar, Cummings, Voigt, Kittel, Knees, Ladagnous and Farrar in the top ten. Once you see Frank Schleck out there you know you're in the last twenty five riders of the day.
Off speeds Cavendish. He's looking very slim indeed. He's VERY London focused. Sky has put a team together that reflects its Wiggins-centricity.
Cav is really stretching the legs out there. The fans cheer him on. It looks like a decent day in Liege. High clouds, no rain.
The Manx Missile is having his teeth rattled by the cobbles. He's approaching the last kilometre.
Cav will be pleased with 13th place at 7:36.
Tomorrow's stage is not considered to be a summit finish, but there's a 2.4 kilometre climb to Seraing. Those are the kind of green jersey points that a guy like Sagan can get, but Cav might not.
There goes the French time trial champion and all-around exciting rider, Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
Andreas Kloden, who's been sort of buried at RadioShack, is out on the course. He was 39th at the Tour de Suisse.