Cancellara wins California prologue, Armstrong 10th
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cancellara wins California prologue, Armstrong 10th

by VeloNation Press at 6:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara won the time-trial prologue of the Tour of California here Saturday ahead of two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer, while his teammate Lance Armstrong confirmed he was in good condition with 10th.

Saxo Bank's Cancellara, whofor the second time in as many years wears the leader's yellow jersey, completed the 3.8 km route on the streets of Sacremento in a blazing 4 minutes and 32.90 seconds.

"It's my first day of racing and my first victory. It's really good," said Cancellara to AFP.

He was 1.21 seconds in front of Astana's Leipheimer who started just after the Swiss rider. As Leipheimer navigated the short course a mist of rain began to fall. One must wonder, in a race where fractions of a second count, if soaked his chances of beating the Olympic champion.

"To be just 1.2 seconds behind, I'm very happy with that," Leipheimer said. "It's kind of the perfect situation."  Second place allows his Astana team to let the Saxo Bank worry about chasing down breaks to keep the jersey.

Third place went to time-trial specialist and reigning US time-trial champion David Zabriskie, who rides for the American Garmin team.

Competing in his second race of the season, seven-time Tour de France champion Armstrong showed today that he is ready to quiet all of his critics with his legs. Armstrong finished 4.26sec behind Cancellara, the rider who took over Armstrong's role as dominator in the race against the clock.

"I wanted to be top 10, top 15, so I have to be pretty happy," said Armstrong, who said the crowds were "amazing." "They were a surprise in Australia, a big surprise today. People are excited, but I don't think they're as excited as I am. I'm glad to be here and I appreciate the support."

Impressive were the performances of Belgian Tom Boonen from team Quick-Step and Mark Cavendish from Columbia, both poised to capture the leaders jersey with time bonuses.

The race also saw the return of American Floyd Landis and Italian Ivan Basso from two-year bans. Neither rider could break the top 60.

Overall Standings
1. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/Saxo Bank) 4min 32secs (avg 50.294 km/h), 2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) at 02sec, 3. David Zabriskie (USA) 3, 4. Michael Rogers (AUS) same time, 5. Thor Hushvod (NOR) 4, 6. George Hincapie (USA) s.t., 7. Tom Boonen (BEL) s.t., 8. Mark Renshaw (AUS) s.t., 9. Svein Tuft (CAN) 5, 10. Lance Armstrong (USA) s.t., 11. Mark Cavendish (GBR) s.t.

66. Ivan Basso (ITA) 17, 90. Floyd Landis (USA) 21


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