The first stage of the 2009 Tour de France is history, and on this July 4 holiday, Boulder-based squad Garmin-Slipstream had a strong showing. However, it was Bradley Wiggins, a Brit, who had the team’s most noteworthy finish, placing third–19 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara in the 9.5-mile individual time trial.

Team leader Christian Vande Velde, who less than two months ago broke five vertebrae, one rib, and fractured his pelvis, finished an impressive 17th–57 seconds off the winning time. Vande Velde’s result not only proves that he’s regained his racing form; it also bodes well for his overall hopes. Vande Velde is the rare rider who gets stronger in the later stages of three-week races like the Tour.

Of his performance, Vande Velde wrote on his Twitter page that he was “more than happy with today.”

Tomorrow’s stage two is a “flat,” 116-mile jaunt from Monaco to Brignoles. Look for Garmin’s young sprint sensation, Tyler Farrar, to be in the mix at the finish.

Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke
Geoff Van Dyke is the editorial director of 5280 Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffVanDyke