Cancellara Wins 2008 Tour of California Prologue
The 2008 Amgen Tour of California started on a high note in Palo Alto when World Champion Fabian Cancellara (SUI) of Team CSC bested a world-class field containing nine World Champions to claim victory on a fast, flat course lined shoulder-to-shoulder with cheering fans. The enthusiastic crowd cheered on the riders as they made their way from downtown Palo Alto to Stanford University.
Completing the 2.1-mile course in a record time of 03:51:21, Cancellara will begin day two of the race wearing the yellow Amgen leader's Jersey when stage 1 takes the riders from Sausalito to Santa Rosa on Monday morning. Today, Cancellara became the first foreign rider ever to wear the yellow jersey in the Amgen Tour of California.
In second place, four seconds behind Cancellara, was Bradley Wiggins (GBR) of Team High Road, followed by Tyler Farrar (USA) of Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30, who came in third, five seconds off the pace. Team High Road became the general team classification leader after the first day of racing with a total time of 11:52.
"What a great start to a race that promises to have the complete attention of cycling fans worldwide for the next week," said Andrew Messick, president of race presenter AEG Sports. "With enthusiastic crowds and welcoming partners, the city of Palo Alto served as an ideal location to see the most accomplished sprinters in the sport do what they do best. This field of world-class cyclists, assembled for the third annual Amgen Tour of California, has some incredible days of racing ahead of them, and the fans in California are in for quite a show.?
Featuring an almost level profile, the 2.1-mile course had cycling fans lined up, almost ten-deep in places, to see the race action.
?It was like being in the Tour de France out there on the course today,? said Cancellara. ?The last time I raced in front of so many people was in London last year. The Amgen Tour of California is a really great race. It is good for cycling. The race has had a great start in the past two years. I hope it continues like this.? Last year, CSC won the Team Classification in the Amgen Tour of California.
Defending Champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana finished fourth today, putting him in an excellent position since he is a proven climber and, overall, the race has significantly more climbing this year. Other early race favorites include George Hincapie (USA) of High Road, who finished 13th (4:01:943); and Tom Boonen (BEL) of QuickStep, who finished 21st (4:04:56).
The Union Bank of California Best Young Rider?s Jersey was claimed by Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) of High Road, who finished fifth at seven seconds. The Herbalife Sprint Jersey went to Bradley Wiggins (GBR) of High Road. The California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey and Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey will be awarded for the first time in the 2008 race tomorrow.
Title sponsor Amgen is continuing its complementary Breakaway from Cancer initiative in 2008.
?Amgen is pleased to join AEG for a third year as the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California,? said George Morrow, executive vice president, Global Commercial Operations, Amgen. ?Today was a great Prologue, beginning what is sure to be a very thrilling race week. At Amgen, we also are excited about the opportunity to celebrate cancer survivors and provide support to people affected by cancer through our Breakaway from Cancer initiative.?
Amgen created Breakaway from Cancer in 2005 as a complementary component to its race sponsorship. The initiative is designed to help empower people affected by cancer and supports the services of two nonprofit organizations ? The Wellness Community, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope to people affected by cancer, and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country.
For the latest information on the Breakaway from Cancer initiative and ways to support those living with the illness, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.