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Monday’s Euro-file: Cancellara takes Suisse prologue; ONCE edges Postal in Cataluyna

Fassa Bortolo’s Fabian Cancellara was the fastest Monday in the opening prologue of the 67th Tour de Suisse on a 7.1km course in Egerkingen. The 22-year-old Swiss rider won the opening prologue of the Tour of Romandie last month and pipped Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) just one second. Aussie Brad McGee (Fdjeux.com) came across third at two seconds slower. “The course was very hard, but the crowd carried me along,” Cancellara said. “I think my team can win this race, but maybe not me. I still have time.” Defending champion Alex Zülle finished fourth at four seconds back. It was

By Andrew Hood

Photo: Graham Watson

Fassa Bortolo’s Fabian Cancellara was the fastest Monday in the opening prologue of the 67th Tour de Suisse on a 7.1km course in Egerkingen.

The 22-year-old Swiss rider won the opening prologue of the Tour of Romandie last month and pipped Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) just one second. Aussie Brad McGee (Fdjeux.com) came across third at two seconds slower.

“The course was very hard, but the crowd carried me along,” Cancellara said. “I think my team can win this race, but maybe not me. I still have time.”

Ullrich

Ullrich

Photo: Graham Watson

Defending champion Alex Zülle finished fourth at four seconds back. It was something of a frustrating day for Zülle’s Phonak team, which finished with three riders in the top-5 but couldn’t score the leader’s jersey.

Team Bianchi’s Jan Ullrich was 13th at 12 seconds slower and American Bobby Julich (Telekom) was 18th at 14 seconds back.

Tuesday’s 163km first stage from Egerkingen to Le Locle is largely flat and Cancellara will have to fend off the sprinters if he wants to retain the leader’s jersey.67th Tour de Suisse, prologue, Egerkingen
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), Fassa Bortolo, 7.1km in 8:46
2. Oscar Pereiro (Sp), Phonak at 0:01
3. Brad McGee (Aus), Fdjeux.com at 0:02
4. Alex Zulle (Swi), Phonak at 0:04
5. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Sp), Phonak at 0:05

ONCE pips Posties in Cataluyna
ONCE nipped U.S. Postal Service by just three seconds Monday to win the team time trial that opened the Tour of Cataluyna. ONCE ripped the 22.9km course between Salou to Vilaseca along the Mediterranean Coast as a heat wave continues to wallop Europe. ONCE covered the course in 25 minutes, 32 seconds for an average speed of 53.81 kph

With the win, Javier Florencio takes the overall lead after being the first ONCE rider across the line. Florencia, a two-year pro who lives in the region, was overjoyed with the leader’s jersey.

“Even though it’s a surprise to beat a team as strong as U.S. Postal Service, it’s a discipline we spend a lot of time working on,” he said. “I asked my teammates if I could be the first across the line and it gives me a lot of happiness to wear the leader’s jersey.”

U.S. Postal Service, driven by such motors as Christian Vande Velde, George Hincapie, Benoit Joachim and Michael Barry, was solid on the course but ONCE was just that much stronger. Rabobank came across third at 13 seconds slower and Fassa Bortolo was fourth at 25 seconds back.

The race continues Tuesday with the 183km second stage from More d’Ebre to El Morell.

83rd Tour of Cataluyna, Stage 1, Salou to Vilaseca, TTT
1. ONCE, 22.9km in 25:32
2. USPS 
+0:03
3. Rabobank +0:13
4. Fassa Bortolo +0:25
5. iBanesto.com +0:26Overall standings after 1 stage:
1. Javier Florencio (Sp), ONCE 25:32
2. Joaquin Rodriguez (Sp), ONCE
3. Angel Vicioso (Sp), ONCE
4. Jan Hruska (Sp), ONCE
5. Rene Andrle (Sp), ONCE – all same timeOthers:
9. Christian Vande Velde (USA), USPS at 3 seconds
10. Michael Barry (Can), USPS
11. George Hincapie (USA), USPS – all same time

Zabel continues hold on UCI rankings
German sprinting ace Erik Zabel remained top dog in the latest UCI rankings released Monday that were largely unchanged from two weeks ago. The major movement was in the team rankings, where Euskaltel jumped from 20th to 12th and iBanesto.com to 11th from 17th. Team Bianchi entered the official rankings after its first two weeks of racing in 30th position with 172 points.
Overall UCI rankings (previous ranking)
1. (1) Erik Zabel, Telekom, 2,091
2. (2) Gilberto Simoni, Saeco, 1,997
3. (3) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, 1,955
4. (4) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, 1,858
5. (5) Dario Frigo, Fassa Bortolo, 1,823
6. (6) Lance Armstrong, USPS, 1,797
7. (7) Robbie McEwen, Lotto-Domo, 1,530
8. (10) Joseba Beloki, ONCE, 1,444
9. (8) Roberto Heras, USPS, 1,419
10. (9) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 1,402
Other Americans:
18. (17) Tyler Hamilton, CSC, 1,130
110. (151) Levi Leipheimer, Rabobank, 432Top 10 so far this season
1. Gilberto Simoni, Saeco, 1,630 points
2. Iban Mayor, Euskaltel, 1,106
3. Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 955
4. Stefano Garzelli, Caldirola-Sidermec, 941
5. Tyler Hamilton, CSC, 924
6. Dario Frigo, Fassa Bortolo, 892
7. Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, 848
8. Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, 719
9. Alexandre Vinokourov, Telekom, 717
10. Erik Zabel, Telekom, 706
Other Americans:
28. Lance Armstrong, USPS, 483
95. Fred Rodriguez, Caldirola-Sidermec, 248
99. Tom Danielson, Saturn, 241Teams so far in 2003 (previous ranking):
1. (1) Saeco, 5,009 points
2. (2) Fassa Bortolo, 4,552
3. (3) QuickStep, 3,951
4. (4) Telekom, 3,575
5. (5) Rabobank, 3,184
6. (7) Gerolsteiner,2,930
7. (6) Alessio, 2,913
8. (9) Lampre, 2.831
9. (10) CSC, 2,763
10. (8) Calidrola-Sidermec, 2,743
11. (17) iBanesto.com, 2,722
12. (20)Euskaltel, 2,682
13. (14) Cofidis, 2,672
14. (15) ONCE, 2,562
15. (16)Ag2r, 2,455
16. (11) Milaneza-MSS, 2,403
17. (13) Fdjeux.com, 2,293
18. (12) Brioches, 2,280
19. (22) Phonak, 2,120
20. (18) Domina Vacanze,2,120
21. (19) Kelme, 1,966
22. (21) Lotto-Domo, 1,892
23. (26) USPS,1,796
24. (24) Credit Agricole, 1,729
25. (23) Landbouwkrediet, 1,496
26 (25) fakta, 1,442
27. (27) Jean Delatour, 1,389
28. (28) CCC-Polsat,699
29. (29) Palmans-Collstop, 598
30 (-) Team Bianchi, 172

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