Gilbert boosts Belgian hopes in Tour prologue

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack) has won the opening prologue time trial of the Tour de France in the streets of Liège. Taking 9th place, Belgium's Philippe Gilbert boosts the Belgian hopes for a stage victory on Sunday.

Bradley Wiggins had the best time with only a couple of riders to go. Only one rider beat the British time trial ace: Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, who covered the 6.4 kilometres in 7 minutes and 13 seconds (average speed: 53.2 km/h), shaving 7 seconds off the previous mark set by Wiggins. Cancellara also won the Tour prologue 8 years ago, when it was also held in Liège. The Belgian city has offered him more good memories today.

The best Belgian was Philippe Gilbert, who took a top-10 place before his home crowd. Tomorrow is a stage that should suit Gilbert well, with an uphill finish in Seraing. The time trial boosts the former Belgian champion's hopes for a stage win. Gilbert (photo) competes for the BMC Team of Cadel Evans.

Jurgen Van den Broeck, who carries the Belgian hopes for a good overall classification in Paris, did not impress, although a short time trial is not his cup of tea. "VDB" finished on 82nd place, 28 seconds behind Cancellara.

The second Belgian in the standings is former Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens, who came 23rd. Cancellara has both the yellow and the green points jersey.