CSC's Fabian Cancellara got a perfect start at the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. In the 3.4-kilometer prologue from
Palo Alto to Stanford University, Cancellara was unbeatable, four seconds ahead of Bradley Wiggins (High Road) in second place.
"We couldn't have hoped for a better start. Tour of California is an important race for all of us and I wanted to prove
that I'm ready from the season. It was an honor to wear the World Champion Jersey here at one of the most important sports
universities and it was amazing to see such a big crowd of people cheering us on. It's obvious that cycling has grown very
big here in California thanks to this race. We're aiming for the overall victory and now we've managed to demonstrate that
we mean business out here. The whole team is top motivated to deliver a big result," said a happy Fabian Cancellara following
Slipstream's US young gun Tyler Farrar came in third, 5 seconds behind Cancellara. "I knew I could do a good ride since
this is a perfect course for me. But it isn’t over yet," said Farrar shortly after he finished. "I am pretty nervous
watching all the others finish."
Slipstream's team manager Jonathan Vaughters was more then happy with Farrar's performance: "Farrar was just a beast. Risked
everything in the corners, but came out alive,” he said. “He’s a real force for the future. Future meaning
the next week!”
Levi Leipheimer (Astana) came in fourth, six seconds after stage winner Fabian Cancellara. Leipheimer said: "I want to
recognize the fans of Palo Alto. The support my teammates and I have received in the past few days has been quite amazing
and to feel the energy of the crowd today was even more special. A Prologue like this combined with some of the best riders
in the world makes for a competitive day. I'm feeling good and look forward to riding into my hometown in Santa Rosa tomorrow
as something special."
Rabobank doesn't have a prologue specialist on its roster at the Tour of Cailfornia, so the Dutch Pro - Tour
squad did not play a major role at yesterdays prologue. "This was a ride for really good specialists. A short track on almost
dead straight streets, without any humps," Rabobank's sports director Erik Breukink said while looking back. Because of this,
he was more interested in how his cyclists had experienced their first aquaintance with a serious test like this match. "I
think that the overall opinion is that it went well. I haven't spoken to Oscar [Freire, editor], for instance, but he felt
really good the last couple of days and the others told me that he was positive after the prologue here," Breukink said.
In the next couple of days the real work will start. Wednesday the King's stage will take place, the one on which Rabobank's
Robert Gesink has focused. Gesink lost 21 seconds to the winner, Cancellara, in the prologue, but according to Breukink, this
means nothing. "Robert must not put all his effort in this prologue. Besides, he isn't a specialist of this kind of work.
Later this week there will be a time trial in which he will do better."
Toyota-United was satisfied with the performance of its riders at the prologue. "The Crowds were so thick on University
Avenue; it was at least 6-10 people deep," said Toyota Team Director, Len Pettyjohn. Dominique Rollin was best placed Toyota
rider. Rollin came in 25th: "He fired out of the gates and was going 42 MPH as he hit the first turn", said Toyota-United
Team Owner Sean Tucker.