Spaniard Alberto Contador clocked the best time of the Tour de France overall contenders Saturday in Monaco. He placed second in the 15.5-kilometre opening time trial behind time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara.
"The important thing is that I earned a moral victory, it's a sign that I'm in great shape. These seconds are useful in what will be a very tight Tour," he said.
Contador posted a time of 19 minutes and 50 seconds. He was five seconds faster than Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), 12" over teammate Levi Leipheimer, 22" on teammate Lance Armstrong, 39" on Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), 42" on Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), 48" on defending champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo) and 1:13 on Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank).
He was fastest at the midway point, at the top of Côte de Beausoleil climb. He won the mountain classification's polka dot jersey as a result.
"It's nice to have, but I would like to change colours in a couple of weeks."
Contador won the Tour de France in 2007. Organisers did not invite his team to the 2008 edition, but he raced and won the two other Grand Tours: the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.