“clear” That’s how defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana) described racing a prologue. Under stormy skies and appreciative crowd, the 2009 Tour of California kicked off with a prologue in Sacramento. Former World TT Champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) took the honors blazing around the corners to stop the clock at four minutes and thirty-two seconds.
Now the hard racing starts. The 107.6 mile (173.2 km) stage one, from Davis to Santa Rosa is expected to end in a sprint finish but the bad weather might derail the plans. With time bonuses on the line for two sprint lines and a 10 second bonus at the finish, the door is open for a sprinter to grab the yellow jersey. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) both sit at only 4 seconds back, followed by Best Young Rider Mark Cavendish at 5 seconds from the winner.
Garmin-Slipstream and Columbia-High Road are also well positioned with multiple riders in the top 1o such as Mick Rogers and Svein Tuft. The goal for Garmin-Slipsteam as per Zabrikie is “to do well on the team GC and put one of us on the podium. That’s a pretty good goal for us.”
When asked if the team would defend the jersey, Cancellara replied that the team would only decide tomorrow morning, neither a yes or a no, and then reminded everyone that they could be going for a stage win with JJ Haedo, the man with the most stage wins in California.