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Rogers’ road: A hard day, and more to come

The Tour de France is the biggest race in the world. Everyone knows that. But today, as it celebrated the start of its centenary edition, I really found out first-hand how big it is. First off, there’s organization and the number of people. Although when you’re racing, you can’t really hear them. I saw them, but inside myself I was in a zone. The number of media here is another thing altogether. In the days leading up to the start there are so many interviews, so many questions. It all takes a bit out of you. It is clear to anyone who races the Tour how winning a stage can change your

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By Michael Rogers

The Tour de France is the biggest race in the world. Everyone knows that. But today, as it celebrated the start of its centenary edition, I really found out first-hand how big it is.

First off, there’s organization and the number of people. Although when you’re racing, you can’t really hear them. I saw them, but inside myself I was in a zone.

The number of media here is another thing altogether. In the days leading up to the start there are so many interviews, so many questions. It all takes a bit out of you.

It is clear to anyone who races the Tour how winning a stage can change your life, with the result being so important to your team and sponsors.

So I did have a real go today. Obviously, by finishing 19th at 13 seconds to Brad McGee, I’ll have to rest up, take stock of the experience, then wait for another chance to try again.

The prologue course was hard, with the hill straight from the start. I rode as well I could and felt pretty good, but then the last 2km were like riding into a cement wall.

Was the pressure of being a Tour debutant and billed as one of the winning hopes too much? No … I don’t think so. I’ve had really good legs for two months, winning the Tour of Belgium and Germany and then the Route du Sud, so I was named as a favorite.

It is also true that I have been basing my whole year around this prologue. I made no secret of that, nor do I regret it.

Sure, I was a bit nervous before the start. I had a really good warm-up, and my thoughts were positive. My preparation today was down pat. I slept well on Friday night, sharing the hotel room with my Italian teammate Davide Bramati. Then this morning I rode three or four laps of the course before reminding myself that if I have a good ride, everything changes from here.

Hence, I went as hard as I could. You have to in such a short time trial. If you hold on that’s good. If you don’t … well, that’s the way you have to ride these things.

It was a fast circuit except for the last 2km. I just pushed the biggest gear I was most comfortable in and went as hard as I could.

It would have been nice to go better today. But there are still 19 or 20 days to go, so what I have to do is now get some rest and hope for the best.