Cancellara starts Vuelta on golden note

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) concentrates on another Grand Tour opener win

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) concentrates on another Grand Tour opener win (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won the 4.8km opening stage of the Vuelta a España on Saturday afternoon. The Swiss star blazed around the old racetrack in Assen, the Netherlands.

Cancellara was fast on a track made slippery thanks to a downpour mid-race. He finished the five minute and 20 second race ahead of two sprinters, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream).

"I am extremely happy to win here in Holland and take the jersey of the Vuelta," said Cancellara. "Of course, it's been an objective for me and for the team to take the win in the prologue, but I am primarily here to get ready for the World Championship on home ground next month."

"Honestly I did not expect to take the victory because of the raw competition from the other strong riders in peak shape, but I succeeded and I am very proud of my effort," said the Olympic time trial champion.

Saxo Bank's director sportif Kim Andersen was pleased, too. "Fabian did what he was motivated to do, and it's a great start for us all to win on the prologue. The next stages are full of bonus seconds, so one of the sprinters might just take the leadership."

Cancellara, who also started off this year's Tour de France with an opening stage win and time in the leader's jersey, will wear the Vuelta's gold leader's jersey when the peloton takes off for the 202km stage two from Assen to Emmen on

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.