Defending champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won the opening stage of the Tour du Suisse on Saturday.
Cancellara, resplendent in the rainbow kit of the world time trial champion, took the short, fast 7.6km individual time trial in Lugano in 10:21, one second ahead of Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) and three up on Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia).
Cancellara, a triple world champion in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and reigning Olympic time-trial champion, won the prologue last year and went on to claim the overall race victory.
He produced a stunning second half to his time trial as he turned a six-second deficit into a one-second lead.
“I think I did everything right,” he said. “The margin is not important. What is important is to wear the leader’s jersey.”
American Lance Armstrong (Team RadioShack) finished 44th, 29 seconds back.
Armstrong, racing in his last race prior to what is widely believed to be his final Tour de France, did not take any chances on the wet roads.
The 38-year-old was already 12 seconds off the pace midway through and slipped even further back in the second half, finishing in 44th position.
A spokesman for his RadioShack team said Armstrong “did not want to take any risks on the downhill but overall he felt good.”
Armstrong was in a mood to joke on Twitter when he referred to the recent inquiry into Cancellara’s bike.
“(Cancellara has) two motors on his bike, the one in his left leg and the one in his right leg.”
Stage 1 results
Heinrich Haussler of the Cervelo TestTeam won stage two at the Tour de Suisse with a perfectly-timed late sprint in Sierre.
Spain’s Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was second and Italy’s Marco Mercato (Vacansoleil) was a frustrated third. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was fourth and Gerald Ciolek (Milram) s fifth, but both were unable find the way to the front to fight for victory.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) finished safely in the peloton and so kept the race leader’s yellow jersey. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) is still one second behind in the GC, and Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) is third at three seconds.
Monday’s 196.6km third stage is from Sierre to Schwarzenburg and includes a series of short climbs before the finish.
Stage 2 results