Well, it has started, and Lance looks great. The first stage - a time trial. Lance blows out of his pedal at the start to lose a couple seconds, but still passes his minute man - Ullrich. We know Ullrich is still recovering from a bad crash, and this can definitely impact performance. Lance comes in second by a couple seconds to finish number two.
Nothing we all don't know yet, right? Ok, how about this: Lance was quicker at the halfway mark than the winner. He also appeared to slow in the last couple of klicks, but he didn't look blown when he finished. So you can tell me what you think, but here's what I think: Lance slowed to let Zabriskie win. Sound outrageous? Radio communications are so good Lance would know exactly where he stood, and how much ahead of Ullrich he was, and probably how much ahead of all the other riders he was. He started last, remember, so everyone else had finished and times were known. Maybe that extra effort to pass Ullrich took that little bit out of him - maybe. But maybe he figured "let Zabriskie have the Yellow Jersey for now - let him take the pressure, let him get the rewards, I know I will be there in Paris". He is tremendously competitive, but he has acted like this before - remember the Pirate and the mountain?