Sunday, February 17, 2008
Prologue: Cancellara wins Amgen opener
What more fitting an opening to the Tour of California than the best racers in the world flying down asphalt between rows of palm trees, and who a more fitting winner than current world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (CSC)? The Swiss rider turned a time of 3:51.211 to handily beat second-place rider Bradley Wiggins (High Road) by nearly six seconds over the 2.1-mile course.
“With my beautiful rainbow jersey, to win here in Palo Alto, it is really good,” Cancellara said.
American Tyler Farrar (Slipstream-Chipotle) set the best time midway through the 132-man field, posting a 3:56 that was good enough for third on the day.
“I’m certainly pleasantly surprised of course,” Farrar said. “I knew that the form was good, and the course was good for me. It’s an honor to be on the podium with Brad and Fabian, they’re the best in the world. It’s a fantastic way to start the week.”
Defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) finished just off the podium in fourth, crossing in 3:57, followed by Norwegian time trial champion and now best young rider of the race, Edvald Boasson Hagen (High Road).
Starting in a crowd-lined downtown Palo Alto, riders faced a dead flat start. After two quick left-hand turns, the riders beelined for the Stanford University campus, where Palm Avenue took them straight to the Stanford Oval, a wide, grassy loop packed with fans.