Vuelta a Espana 2009, stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

For the second time this year, Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) has taken the opening time trial of a major Tour, blasting to victory in Assen’s motorbike circuit for his first ever leader’s jersey in the Vuelta a Espana.

If Monaco was the most mountainous prologue ever seen in major Tour, the Vuelta’s was arguably one of the flattest. But Cancellara was equally at home in both of them, flying round Assen’s 4.8 kilometre for his first ever lead in his first ever participation in the Tour of Spain.

Just as in Monaco ten weeks ago, the differences between Cancellara and his closest rivals were simply staggering.

Despite the distance being so short, the Swiss Olympic and World Time Trial champion completed the course nine seconds faster than Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and 12 faster than American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream). The rest of the main favourites were all clustered within around 30 seconds of each other, with Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) the best placed in sixth at 17 seconds.

“I was surprised myself,” Cancellara said afterwards, “I’ve not raced much since the Tour de France, and both Boonen and Farrar were really in good shape in the Eneco Tour.”

“But I told myself to go out there and kick some ass, and that’s exactly what I did.”

Averaging a supersonic 54km/h, Cancellara admitted that the fast-improving weather in the final hour had done no harm to his chances.

After an afternoon of squally rainshows, which affected riders like Britain’s David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream), who finished 15th at 21 seconds, it suddenly turned dry and calm, and Cancellara reaped the benefits.

“It’s a question of luck, but all of the last ten guys in the prologue rode in the same better conditions. It didn’t make a big difference.”

Cancellara said his team will do their utmost to defend the leader’s red jersey, and that as a former Paris-Roubaix winner, he wasn’t expecting too many problems on Holland’s pavé.

“There could be crashes but we’ll be staying close to the front. Our team has already shown that it’s good at that on lots of other occasions.”

Results

Vuelta a Espana 2009: Stage one

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank 4.8km in 5-20


2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at 9sec

3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 12sec

4. Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil at 14sec

5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas at 16sec

6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 17sec

7. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 18sec

8. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas at 18sec

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 18sec

10. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas at 19sec

Other

15. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 21sec

91. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 32sec

116. Philip Deignan (Ire) Cervelo at 36sec

163. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 44sec

173. Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin-Slipstream at 47sec

Overall classification after stage one

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank

2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at 9sec

3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 12sec

4. Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil at 14sec

5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas at 16sec

6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 17sec

7. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 18sec

8. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas at 18sec

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 18sec

10. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas at 19sec

Fabian Cancellara Vuelta a Espana stage one

Fabian Cancellara powers his way to the stage one win and leader’s jersey

Tom Boonen Vuelta a Espana stage one

After a torrid Tour de France, Tom Boonen now seems to be back to his best with a second place in the opening TT

Related links

Vuelta
a Espana 2009, stage one photo gallery by Graham
Watson


Vuelta a Espana 2009: Cycling Weekly’s full coverage, the hub

Vuelta a Espana 2009: Who will win?


Vinokourov back with Astana for the Vuelta

Britain and Ireland well represented in Vuelta

2009 Vuelta route favours climbers

Cycling Weekly’s Rider Profiles: Index

 

  • Graham Stepman

    Yes! The Swiss time trial monster strikes again. How has Liquigas managed to get four riders in the top ten, though?