By Laura Weislo in Palo Alto
World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (CSC) demolished the 3.4 kilometre prologue course from Palo Alto to the Stanford University campus on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for the opening stage of the third Tour of California. The Swiss rider went nearly five seconds faster than world pursuit champion Bradley Wiggins (High Road) on the flat, fast course to take the top honours.
On a picture perfect California day, the riders were treated to sunny skies and light wind, making the day even faster than expected. John Murphy (Health Net) set the early fastest time before being overtaken by Slipstream's David Zabriskie, who was one of the early starters. Zabriskie's time held for 20 minutes before CSC's Swede Gustav Erik Larsson came through 0.4 seconds quicker. Larsson's time held the lead until the young American Tyler Farrar (Slipstream) zoomed through to a 3'56.46, nearly two seconds faster.
Farrar spent nearly 40 minutes in the hot seat before Wiggins came through half a second faster, but his 3.55.98 was not strong enough to withstand the onslaught of power from the legs of Cancellara. With the in-form Swiss rider targeting the Spring Classics, there was no hope for any other rider to come close to the win. Cancellara blazed to a 3'51.21, putting 4.7 seconds into Wiggins over the 3.4 kilometres.
Last year's Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) put in a strong bid with a 3'57.52, taking fourth place ahead of the young Norwegian phenomenon, Edvald Boasson Hagen (High Road).
Check out the full report and results here.