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Cancellara wins the Sacramento prologue of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California

Leipheimer, Zabriskie follow Olympic TT champ onto podium

By Ben Delaney

2009 ATOC, prologue: Cancellara crushed.

2009 ATOC, prologue: Cancellara crushed.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

George Hincapie described the scene at the Amgen Tour of California prologue in Sacramento Saturday, saying only Tour de France crowds could compare. And those crowds were treated to a Tour de France-caliber show, with Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) blazing the downtown 3.9km course with a winning time of 4:32.

Defending race champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) turned in the second best time of the day with 4:34, with U.S. time trial champion David Zabriskie rounding out the podium in 4:35.

2009 Amgen Tour of California
Prologue, Sacramento, 3.9km (2.4 miles)

Winner: Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won in 4:32.91, taking the stage win and the Amgen race leader’s jersey.
Winner’s average speed: 51.62 kph (32.1 mph)
Rabobank Best Young Rider: Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad)
Best Team: Columbia-Highroad
Herbalife Sprint Leader: Levi Leipheimer
Amgen Couragous Award: Lance Armstrong
California King of the Mountains Leader: Not awarded
Peloton: All 136 riders finished. There were no penalities, but Garmin’s Thomas Peterson missed his start and was timed from his scheduled start, putting him in last place with a 6:35
Up next: Stage 1 is 108 miles from Davis to Santa Rosa

“I’m for sure happy,” said Cancellara, who also won the prologue last year. “This is a beautiful race, I love to come every year. With this crowd, it gave me the final motivation to win.”

2009 ATOC, prologue: Leipheimer — lickety-split

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Nearly all of the big names came at the end of the day, and all drew huge cheers from the crowd of thousands packed around the blustery course. But the Lance Factor trumped all. In his first race back on U.S. soil, Armstrong generated thundering noise all around the course. He finished the day in 10th, with a time of 4:37.

Floyd Landis, riding his first major race in two years, left the start house before Leipheimer, the last man out. Landis finished 90th, at 4:53. Two years out of competition, many questions surrounded the American, including how his form would be, and how his legs would perform with his prosthetic hip.

“Today felt great,” Landis said. “I’m really happy about how good my hip feels. Testing the BHR at the highest level of competition, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Two-time California winner Leipheimer reported his satisfaction in finishing right behind the big Swiss rider on a short course on such a blustery day.

“The crowd was awesome — bigger and better every year,” Leipheimer said. “Of course Fabian is really tough to beat, especially in a prologue. To be just two seconds behind that, I’m really happy with that. Really it’s the perfect situation. I definitely have the form to compete for the win. That’s not to say I can win. The competition is extremely good. A lot can happen in the next eight days.”

Cancellara declined to say what goals his Saxo Bank squad would pursue over the next eight days. “We are going to decide tomorrow morning, when we do our tactic,” he said. “We have the possibility to go for the overall, but we also have the possibility to go for sprints with JJ Haedo.”

Where it all began: the start ramp in Sacramento.

Where it all began: the start ramp in Sacramento.

Photo: Neal Rogers

Team Columbia-Highroad started the Amgen Tour strong. Michael Rogers finished just off the podium in 4:35, with George Hincapie in sixth, just behind Cervélo TestTeam’s Thor Hushovd, who for a while held the lead. Hincapie banged his bars in frustration after crossing the line in 4:36 – then the second-best time. The irritation wasn’t just at the close miss – his rear tire had started to go flat during the short event.

Columbia held the top of the leaderboard for most of the day as Australian Mark Renshaw set a solid mark of 4:36, and his teammate Mark Cavendish one second behind.

With a field sprint a likely conclusion of stage 1 — and plenty of bonus seconds available — Cavendish isn’t the only fast finisher with a shot at the leader’s jersey Sunday. Quick Step’s star Tom Boonen turned a great time of 4:36, slotting into 7th on the day.

Garmin-Slipstream’s Svein Tuft also laid down a good ride of 4:37, putting him in 9th.

Looking toward the Tour of California’s finish in Escondido in a week, common wisdom says the winner must demonstrate not only good time trialing — which the podium finishers obviously showed today — but good climbing legs as well. Cancellara said he didn’t know how well he was climbing, but he did say that legs alone will not win the race.

“With eight days still to do, it’s a lot, it’s long,” he said. “We have to do good tactics, because in the end that’s what I think will decide the race.”
Email Ben Delaney

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1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:32.91
2. Levi Leipheimer Astana in 00:04:34.11
3. David Zabriskie Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:35.56
4. Michael Rogers Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:35.70
5. Thor Hushovd Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:36.04
6. George Hincapie Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:36.25
7. Tom Boonen Quick Step in 00:04:36.34
8. Mark Renshaw Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:36.96
9. Stein Tuft Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:37.06
10. Lance Armstrong Astana in 00:04:37.17
11. Mark Cavendish Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:37.78
12. Tom Zirbel Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:37.94
13. Ben Jacques-maynes Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:38.54
14. Tyler Farrar Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:39.42
15. Bradley Huff Charles Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:40.13
16. Oscar Freire Gomez Rabobank in 00:04:40.31
17. Hayden Roulston Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:40.50
18. John Murphy Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:40.75
19. Peter Latham Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:41.14
20. Christopher Horner Astana in 00:04:41.41
21. Jeremy Vennell Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:41.43
22. Christian Vandevelde Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:41.55
23. Andy Jacques-maynes Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:42.29
24. Dominique Rollin Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:42.85
25. José Haedo Juan Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:43.36
26. Carlos Barredo Quick Step in 00:04:43.59
27. Brett Lancaster Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:43.77
28. Grischa Niermann Rabobank in 00:04:43.97
29. Stuart O’grady Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:44.56
30. Edward King Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:44.62
31. Jeffry Louder Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:44.73
32. Enrique Gutierrez Rock Racing in 00:04:45.01
33. Stef Clement Rabobank in 00:04:45.02
34. Karl Menzies Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:45.12
35. Janez Brajkovic Astana in 00:04:45.18
36. Thomas LÖvkvist Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:45.36
37. Adam Hansen Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:45.39
38. Gustav Larsson Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:45.50
39. Jason Mccartney Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:45.59
40. Francisco Mancebo Rock Racing in 00:04:45.73
41. José Luis Rubiera Vigil Astana in 00:04:45.74
42. Bernard Van Ulden Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:45.78
43. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas in 00:04:45.81
44. Luis Romero Amaran Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:04:45.99
45. Ben Day Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:46.06
46. Steven Cozza Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:46.17
47. Yaroslav Popovych Astana in 00:04:46.19
48. Kiel Reijnen Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:46.35
49. Darren Lill Team Type 1 in 00:04:46.38
50. Robert Gesink Rabobank in 00:04:46.61
51. Kim Kirchen Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:46.67
52. Oscar Sevilla Rock Racing in 00:04:46.69
53. Gregory Rast Astana in 00:04:46.79
54. Pedro Horrillo Munoz Rabobank in 00:04:46.93
55. Jens Voigt Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:47.15
56. Marco Velo Quick Step in 00:04:47.20
57. Hugo Pena Victor Rock Racing in 00:04:47.20
58. Steve Morabito Astana in 00:04:47.43
59. Martin Elmiger Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:04:47.48
60. Scott Nydam Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:47.67
61. Alexandre Moos Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:48.21
62. Walle Jurgen Van De Quick Step in 00:04:48.35
63. Fränk Schleck Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:48.37
64. Matthew Crane Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:48.46
65. Markus Zberg Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:48.68
66. Ivan Basso Liquigas in 00:04:49.12
67. Thomas Danielson Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:49.16
68. Michael Barry Team Columbia-High Road in 00:04:49.18
69. Chris Baldwin Rock Racing in 00:04:49.26
70. Kirk O’bee Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:49.41
71. Tyler Hamilton Rock Racing in 00:04:49.76
72. Bradley White Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:50.05
73. Christophe Riblon Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:04:50.15
74. Phil Zajicek Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:50.56
75. Serge Pauwels Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:50.64
76. Bauke Mollema Rabobank in 00:04:50.66
77. Ian Mckissick Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:50.84
78. Pieter Weening Rabobank in 00:04:50.98
79. Freddy Rodriguez Rock Racing in 00:04:51.24
80. Robert Gunn Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:51.57
81. Brian Vandborg Liquigas in 00:04:51.58
82. Alberto Borrajo Alejandro Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:04:51.96
83. Andy Schleck Team Saxo Bank in 00:04:52.01
84. Frank Pipp Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:04:52.10
85. Matthew Wilson Team Type 1 in 00:04:52.18
86. Jonathan Clarke Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:52.25
87. Phillip Gaimon Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:52.44
88. Valeriy Kobzarenko Team Type 1 in 00:04:52.76
89. Kevin De Weert Quick Step in 00:04:52.77
90. Floyd Landis Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:53.26
91. Lopez De Castro Inigo Cuesta Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:53.67
92. Glen Chadwick Rock Racing in 00:04:53.76
93. Rinaldo Nocentini Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:04:53.84
94. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano Rabobank in 00:04:54.28
95. Rory Sutherland Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:54.39
96. David Kemp Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:54.84
97. Cameron Evans Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:55.13
98. Addy Engels Quick Step in 00:04:56.69
99. Nick Reistad Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:04:56.72
100. Patrick Mccarty Jonathan Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:56.93
101. Trent Lowe Garmin-Slipstream in 00:04:57.03
102. Moises Aldape Chavez Team Type 1 in 00:04:57.09
103. Kevin Hulsmans Quick Step in 00:04:57.24
104. Timothy Johnson Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 00:04:57.30
105. Mathias Frank Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:57.35
106. Tyler Wren Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:04:57.40
107. Thomas Frei Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:57.55
108. Scott Davis Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:57.67
109. Michael Grabinger Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:57.80
110. Jonathan Cantwell Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:04:57.87
111. Aaron Olson Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:04:57.89
112. Kevin Seeldraeyers Quick Step in 00:04:58.12
113. Jonathan Garcia Bmc Racing Team in 00:04:58.48
114. Carlos Sastre Candil Cervelo Test Team in 00:04:58.59
115. Andres Borrajo Anibal Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:04:59.15
116. Cyril Dessel Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:04:59.33
117. Christopher Jones Team Type 1 in 00:04:59.66
118. Daniel Oss Liquigas in 00:04:59.89
119. Tadej Valjavec Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:05:01.81
120. Bernard Sulzberger Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 00:05:02.60
121. Alessandro Vanotti Liquigas in 00:05:03.95
122. Will Routley Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 00:05:04.21
123. Stéphane Goubert Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:05:04.62
124. Davide Frattini Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:05:04.64
125. Hubert Dupont Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:05:05.17
126. Omer Kem Bissell Pro Cycling in 00:05:05.36
127. Francesco Chicchi Liquigas in 00:05:06.75
128. Sebastian Haedo Lucas Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:05:07.54
129. Jacopo Guarnieri Liquigas in 00:05:07.82
130. Andy Guptill Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 00:05:11.74
131. Ian Macgregor Team Type 1 in 00:05:12.25
132. Kjell CarlstrÖm Liquigas in 00:05:14.87
133. John Gadret Ag2r La Mondiale in 00:05:16.15
134. Fabio Calabria Team Type 1 in 00:05:17.95
135. Phil Southerland Team Type 1 in 00:05:21.89
136. Thomas Peterson Garmin-Slipstream in 00:06:35.08

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