First Endurance rider Fabian Cancellara took to the start of the Tour de Suisse opening time trial as the heavy race favorite in his home country tour. Blasting across the line to the sound of deafening cheers, Cancellara’s time of 9:41 bested the previous top time set by First Endurance rider Tejay Van Garderen (HTC – Highroad) by nine seconds. None of the twenty riders who started after Cancellara would come close to challenging him for the stage win.
“It was truly a fantastic day,” said Sports Director Torsten Schmidt. “The World Champion won the race in a dominant style. He really showed the spectators that he remains the true specialist in this discipline, and it was something extra special today for him to win in his home country.”
“I felt extra pressure today because it was my home race, but I like the pressure,” said Cancellara. “It was amazing to race in Ticino [the Italian speaking region of Switzerland]. My father is an Italian immigrant, and I feel at home here. It makes me proud to take the leader’s jersey in front of the Italian-speaking Swiss.” This is Cancellara’s fifth win at the Tour de Suisse opening prologue. He claimed the overall race title two year’s ago on a far less mountainous route. “Both time trials in this race are my main focus, and I have accomplished my first goal with flying colors,” said Cancellara. “I can’t predict if I will have the jersey tomorrow or the next day, but we will do our best to keep it within the team.”
Cancellara was not the only rider on LEOPARD TREK to put in a strong ride. Linus Gerdemann claimed the final spot in the top-ten. Maxime Monfort finished three spots behind in thirteenth and Jakob Fuglsang rounded out the top-twenty.
“We are happy with the results from Linus and Maxime,” said Schmidt. “Linus has showed in the past that he can always put in a good effort in a short time trial. His condition is really good right now, and with his recent win in Luxembourg, he appreciates his team and his fitness. We can see this in how he is riding. His results confirms that his confidence is high.”
Although the team has much to celebrate, Schmidt was quick to note the one hiccup on an otherwise perfect day. “Andy had some technical problems during his race. He dropped a chain. He immediately received help from our mechanic, but the seconds ticked off quickly,” said Schmidt. “Fortunately, all our other seven riders had no problems and were able to ride 100% to the finish line.”
With their initial objective accomplished, LEOPARD TREK now looks forward to the first road stage tomorrow. The course covers 149 kilometers betwen Airolo and Crans-Montana. “The stage is tough directly from the start. There is a category one climb that opens the race, and we have a mountaintop finish,” said Schmidt. “We have lots of opportunity with different riders, and we’re ready to defend the yellow jersey. We go to the start with a good mood and big hopes.”
|1||Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek||0:09:41|
|2||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad||0:00:09|
|3||Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:17|