Fabian Cancellara (CSC) showed that he is the number one favourite for the Tour de France prologue in London with a powerful and dominant ride in the 3.8km opening stage of the Tour of Switzerland around Olten on Saturday evening.
Cancellara used his power and speed to set a time of 4:20, covering the twisting course at an impressive average speed of 52.6km/h. Italy?s Daniele Bennati of the Lampre team finished second, eight seconds slower, with Spain?s Jose Ivan Gutierrez of the Caisse d?Epargne team third at nine seconds.
?This is the first time trial I?ve won since taking the world title last September and being in Switzerland makes it even more special,? Cancellara said.
?Racing near home is nice but also means I was under enormous pressure to win. I?d said I wanted to win before the race and fortunately I did. It was a short time trial and so it was important to start fast. I took a few risks on the corners but I?d studied the course closely and knew the best line in every corner.?
Cancellara will wear the race leader?s yellow jersey during Sunday?s 157.2km second stage from Olten to Luzern but he admitted he has little chance of overall victory because of the mountain stages later in the race.
?I?d like to try and win the Tour of Switzerland one day but I know it won?t be this year because the route is really tough,? he said.
?time trials are my thing and so it?s difficult for me to be competitive in the mountains. My objective is to keep the yellow jersey for a few days, help my team mates and then win the final time trial in my home town of Bern next Sunday.?
The second stage from Olten to Luzern includes two short climbs near the finish but is expected to end in a sprint finish. Favourite for victory is Robbie McEwen (Predictor) but he will face serious competition from Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and a clearly on form Bennati.