By Paul Verkuylen in Xining, China
For Heiko Salzwedel, the Danish National track team coach, Alex Rasmussen's win in the opening prologue of the Tour of Qinghai Lake came as no surprise. The short 3.8 kilometre circuit was perfectly suited to his riders who are putting the finishing touches on their preparations to attempt to take gold in the 4000 meter team's pursuit at the Olympic Games.
"It's well suited to us as pursuit riders," Salzwedel told Cyclingnews. "I don't think that it is a surprise at all that a Danish rider won the first stage.
"We are very excited to present our Olympic team here. That's why we are very happy that the race organiser included the prologue here."
Rasmussen took the opening stage over 10 seconds ahead of David McCann (Giant Asia racing team) and averaged 56.3 km/h. What made his performance all the more incredible is that it was done on a standard bike without any aero bars.
"There was no advantage in that," Salzwedel explained. "I am very excited. I am surprised by the speed and that he won by such a big margin.
"He is not a hill climber. He may keep the yellow jersey for one or maybe two days but Oscar Sevilla is the big favourite here."
After completing the Tour, the squad will head back to Denmark to finish their training and taper for the Games, opting to arrive late and miss the opening ceremony.