Watching the tour today, the color commentators suggested that the sprinters ride hard in order that their time bonuses will be enough to get them into the yellow jersey. That would explain some of last year's prologue results, but I'm not sure I buy it. A few sprinters are relatively high in the standings but most of the really good ones are near the bottom, not having wanted to tire themselves out.
This year's top ten prologue finishers is full of contenders for the overall win, most interestingly Kloden and Vinokourov who both ride for the Astana team. Kloden is telling the press he's just there to support Vino and won't try to take over unless Vino is out of contention. We'll see. This has happened before; Greg Lemond's first win was in a similar situation as a domestique for Bernard Hinault. Kloden/Vinokourov is looking like a race to watch, and despite Discovery's effort to establish its importance in the post-Lance era, Astana is probably the team to beat.
In tenth place is a man named Benoit Vaugrenard who you may remember from last year for picking up some intermediate time bonuses in a breakaway. He'll be fun to watch for the next few days, but the other riders will be watching him too. I'll be keeping my eye on Markus Fothen and Alejandro Valverde, as well.