Pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won the opening time trial at the Tour de France with another dominate ride in the  15km loop around Monaco. The big Swiss rider set a time of 19-32, beating all the previous times by huge margin to take the first yellow jersey of the 2009 Tour de France.

Alberto Contador (Astana) finished second at 19-50, 18 seconds slower, beating Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) by a single second.



Cancellara was only third fastest at the time split at the top of the climb, in the same time as Wiggins, but dived down the descent and then blasted to the finish. It is the third time he has won the opening time trial at the Tour de France after success in Liege in 2004 and London in 2007.

“After my ride in the Tour de Suisse I knew that it’s be difficult for the others to beat me if I had a good day,” Cancellara said.

“This is for me, for my family, for my wife and my daughter. I’m very proud of what I’ve done.” 

As predicted, the testing 15km time trial caused some significant time gaps between the overall contenders. Andreas Kloden (Astana) was fourth, just four seconds behind Contador, Cadel Evans (Silence) was fifth, five seconds down on Contador.

However, the big losers were Denis Menchov (Raboank), who lost more than minute to his rivals, and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) who lost 40 seconds. 



Lance Armstrong was one of the first riders to start the time trial and got lots of cheers. However, he still hasn’t refound his high cadence pedaling action and set a slightly disappointing time of 20-12. He was fastest for a while, but then Tony Martin (Columbia) beat him by seven seconds and team mate Levi Leiphemier set a time of 20-03, which was good enough for sixth on the day.



Armstrong eventually finished 10th but was not too upset: “I didn’t have any big illusions. I didn’t expect to win or take the jersey. I didn’t expect a super, super performance but relative to Levi and Tony martin, both who are specialists, it’s not bad,” he said.



David Millar (Garmin) finished 14th with a time of 20-20. He lost precious seconds on the first half of the course and lost a few more when his back wheel blocked up on a downhill corner. “It was very hard to have one rhythm, but I’m pleased. Obviously it could have been better but it was a good day,” he said.



As he had predicted, Mark Cavendish (Columbia) rode within himself in the time trial, setting a time of 22-46. Sunday’s first flat road stage from Monaco to Brignoles will surely be a totally different story.



Charly Wegelius (Silence) completed the British foursome in the Tour. The lanky climber set a time of 21-22.



RESULTS

Stage one ITT: Monaco-Monaco, 15.5km

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank in 19-32


2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 18secs

3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 19secs

4. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Astana at 22secs

5. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 23secs

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 30secs

7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 32secs

8. Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC at 33secs

9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 37secs

10. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 40secs

Other

14. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 48secs

92. Charly Wegelius (GB) Silence-Lotto at 1-49

177. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-HTC at 3-14

Overall classification after stage one

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank in 19-32


2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 18secs

3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 19secs

4. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Astana at 22secs

5. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 23secs

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 30secs

7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 32secs

8. Tony Martin (Ger) Columbia-HTC at 33secs

9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 37secs

10. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 40secs

 Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France 2009, stage 1 TT, July 4 2009

Bradley Wiggins on his way to third place

 Fabian Cancellara, Tour de France 2009, stage 1 TT, July 4 2009

Fabian Cancellara blew away the competition to take the stage, and yellow jersey

Lance Armstrong, Tour de France 2009, stage 1 TT, July 4 2009

Lance Armstrong put in a solid ride to come tenth

David Millar, Tour de France 2009, stage 1 TT, July 4 2009

Britain’s David Millar came 14th with another good ride

TOUR DE FRANCE 2009

Tour de France 2009 – the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.

STAGE REPORTS

To come…

NEWS

Tour de France 2009 News Index

Tour de France teams in Monaco presentation

Boonen free to ride in Tour de France

Dan Marint disappointed at Tour de France non-start

Dekker positive for EPO, Wegelius gets his Tour place

New anti-doping test for Tour de France

EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS

Stage one: Jonathan Vaughters on Bradley Wiggins’ chances

TOUR GUIDE

Tour de France 2009 – the hub

Tour de France 2009: Who’s riding

Tour de France 2009: Team guide

About the Tour de France

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Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules

Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France

Tour de France anti-doping measures explained

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

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  • Nathan Healey

    Being a New Zealander, we have 2 riders in this tour. Haydon Ralston who finished 111th and Julian Dean riding his fifth tour, I believe, 131st. We are so thrilled to have 2 Kiwis riding the tour and to see Ralston (Rolly) kick Boonen’s (114) butt was an added bonus.