By Susan Westemeyer
T-Mobile and Rabobank were pleased and surprised with their finishes in Sunday's Tour of California Prologue. Pleased, because they were top-ten placings, but surprised at the riders who brought in those results.
T-Mobile's best rider was not former world time trial champion Michael Rogers -- who finished back in 12th place -- but newcomer Adam Hansen. In his team debut, the Australian finished only six seconds behind winder Levi Leipheimer. "Right after my ride I thought I had started out too fast, but naturally I'm very satisfied with my results," he said on the team's website, t-mobile-team.com.
Compatriot Rogers was also satisfied. "Based on my training stand at this time of the season, it was a good result for me," said Rogers, who came in nine seconds down.
Not satisfied with his performance was the youngest member of the T-Mobile squad, Gerald Ciolek, who had hoped that his debut in the magenta jersey would have turned out better. The 20 year-old finished 36 seconds down, way back in 110th place. "The prologue didn't go so well for me," he said. "I couldn't find a good rhythm in the flat part and then overdid it when I got to the climb."
Dutch squad, Rabobank, had a surprise seventh place finisher; little Columbian climber Mauricio Ardila, who is not known as a time trial or prologue specialist. The team's website, rabobank.nl, noted that the course favoured him, as the final 700 metres featured an 11 percent climb.
"It was a terrific day from him as these races aren't suited for Ardila and to start the Tour of California this way is a great boost for his morale," said team manager Erik Breukink. He further noted that "Ardila had a difficult time when he joined our team last year and the boy wants to show us and the world what he is capable of."