ATOC: Prologue recap

Everybody knows by now that Fabian Cancellara of CSC won the individual time trial in 3:51. Bradley Wiggins of High Road and Slipstream’s Tyler Farrar followed by just four and five seconds, respectively, with last year’s winner Levi Leipheimer (Astana) coming in four place.

Some spectators on the course expressed surprise that Leipheimer didn’t win, but the time trial is not his strong suit, and coming in just six seconds behind a time trial specialist is nothing to sneeze at.

Rock Racing Rolls

Rock Racing of course participated in the race with their five approved riders, including 40 year old Mario Cipollini who came out of retirement to join the team just last month. The crowd roared with approval as Cipo shot out of the gate. “The size of the crowd was amazing and caught me off guard,” Cipollini said. “It was great to hear so many people cheering my name.”

While Cipo finished 44th overall and his team is in 10th place (out of 17), the Rock Racing team tent was clearly the spectator favorite as hundreds crowded around to get autographs from the cyclists before the race start. Rock Racing also had the largest area by taking an entire block with their trademark Rolls Royce, autograph tables with sound system and video screens, warmup tent, a monstrous team RV and several other support vehicles. Compare to some of the other continental teams such as Jelly Belly, which had a minivan in which the cyclists squeezed to change from their cycling shorts into something more comfortable.

More Tour of California coverage

David interviewed Phil Liggett, Cancellara and others in his prologue commentary at the FredCast cycling podcast. Steven does his usual great job of providing links to the various photo and video resources of the tour at Steephill.TV. And KWC’s photographic skills are put to excellent use in his Tour of California photo sets.

I plan to be in Sausalito tomorrow to cover the start of Stage 1, while KWC plans to travel to Santa Rosa to cover the finish and photograph the women’s criterium, which should start at about 3 p.m.

Prologue Quotes

Fabian Cancellara (SUI), First Place, Prologue

Team CSC

On today’s race:

“It was like being in the Tour de France out there on the course today. 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.”

On winning the Prologue:

“To win the first race of the season wearing the Rainbow Jersey is a great experience for me, and for the team as well. It’s just amazing. I had hoped to be first today, and as a team, we hope to win the Amgen Tour of California.”

On the anti-doping testing:

“I think it’s important that all teams continue to fight. For the teams and sponsors, what they did last year and this year, this is what everyone has to do. I think the results show that we did the right thing. The biological passport is a good thing. We need cycling to go back to the way it used to be. We need to give our best on the road. I accept the rules and I’ll continue to do my best.”

Bradley Wiggins (GBR), Second Place, Prologue

High Road

On his second place finish:

“If somebody had told me this morning before the race that I’d finish second, I’d have been very happy. Fabian (Cancellara) is a great rider and it’s a great event. I’m very pleased.”

On the crowds:

“The crowds were phenomenal. It was great from start to finish; a wall of sound. We’re not really used to that in Europe. The crowds there aren’t always as supportive as they are here. Americans are 100 percent for everybody.”

Tyler Farrar (USA), Third Place, Prologue

Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30

On his third place finish:

“I was pleasantly surprised with how well I did today. This race was good for me. I knew it was possible for me to have a good ride, and it was an honor to be on the podium with Fabian (Cancellara) and Bradley (Wiggins). Today’s finish ranks up there as one of my top-5 finishes. This was a fantastic day for our team, and hopefully a sign of things to come.”

On his first appearance in the Amgen Tour of California:

“This is my first time riding in Amgen Tour of California. It’s probably the biggest cycling event in American, and for me, as an American, it’s great to finally take part in one of the nation’s top races. I couldn’t believe the fans; it felt like one of the biggest races in the world. Every rider in Europe wants to come to this race. I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been with the weather. All the guys in Europe speak so highly about this race.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR), Best Young Rider, Prologue

High Road

On his first professional race:

“This is my first professional race, so it’s a good start, and it’s good to start my season so well.”

On the today’s course:

“I liked the course. The first two corners went well for me. The straight was longer than I thought it would be, so I tired a little coming to the end, but I think it’s like that for every rider.”

On the crowds:

“The crowds were really good. There were a lot of people and it was fun to ride through them.”

Levi Leipheimer (USA), Amgen Tour of California Defending Champion

Astana

On today’s race:

“A prologue like this, combined with best riders in world, makes for a competitive day. I’m feeling good and looking forward to riding into my hometown of Santa Rosa – it’s going to be extra special.”

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