Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) finally got his season back on track at the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday, blasting to victory in the opening 7.8km time trial.

The course included two short climbs and some twisting corners, but the ‘Berne Express’ blasted round the course at almost 50km/h, setting a time of 9-21.

2008 Tour of Switzerland winner Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) finished an impressive second but was a massive 19 seconds slower than Cancellara. Andreas Kloden (Astana) was third at 22 seconds, with George Hincapie (Columbia) fourth at 24 seconds.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Columbia) finished out of the top ten.

Cancellara had an usually quiet spring but finally rediscovered his smile after the time trial.

He won the prologue at the Tour of California in February but then disappeared from the results after hurting his shoulder in a crash while training. He rode the cobbled classics and half of the Giro but used them as training for Switzerland and the Tour de France.

“I’m Fabian Cancellara. I know I can win big time trials like this, I’ve proved it several times,” he said proudly, when asked if he was surprised to win by so much.

“But it’s always great to win and pull on the yellow jersey of your home. I’ve been working specifically for the time trial for a week and felt really good during my ride.”

“When I first saw the course I really liked it, especially the last part with all the corners. At the intermediate point at the top of the climb I told myself to push it really hard all the way to the finish to gain extra seconds.”

Cancellara is under pressure in Switzerland to one day go for overall victory in his home stage race. The organisers have created an easier course this year but there are still far too many mountains for Cancellara’s powerful but heavy build.

“I’ll give it everything, even in the mountains, but I’m not a great climber like Kreuziger and the other favourites,” he said.

“I’ll try and defend the leader’s jersey as long as possible but I know there are some tough mountain stages to come.”

Sunday’s 149.8km second stage is the first of them. It starts and finishes in the Swiss ski resort of Davis with a long descent to the valley before an equally long climb back to the finish at an altitude of 1560m.

RESULTS

Stage one: Mauren-Ruggell ITT, 7.8km

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank in 9-21


2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 19sec

3. Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana at 22sec

4. George Hincapie (USA) Columbia-Highroad at 24sec

5. Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-Highroad at 31sec

6. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia-Highroad at same time

7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Columbia-Highroad at 32sec

8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo at 34sec

9. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank at same time

10. Rui Alberto Faria (Por) Caisse d’Epargne at 35sec

Other

120. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad at 1-08

Overall classification after stage one

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank in 9-21

2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 19sec

3. Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana at 22sec

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