Fabulous Fabian Cancellara Takes Amgen Tour of California Prologue

Zachary MainoContributor IFebruary 15, 2009

With the best riders in the world competing for the first major title of the season, Sacramento, Calif., was the center of the cycling world on Saturday.

Riders such as two-time Tour of California champion Levi Leipheimer, seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong, American National TT champion David Zabriskie, former two-time world and current Swiss and Olympic TT Champion Fabian Cancellara and cycling comeback stars Floyd Landis and Ivan Basso all kitted up for the 3.9-km prologue.

Early starter Mark Renshaw (Columbia-Highroad) set the best time which held for most of the day, but the specialists were still to come. George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad) started 40 seconds behind Thor Hushovd (CerveloTest Team) with the goal of winning. However, Hincapie finished 0.20 seconds off Hushovd, setting the new best time.

Australian National TT champion Michael Rogers put in a time that saw him finish just of the podium in fourth place. Third place went to American David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream), who is back to his old time trialing ways of 2005 and 2006.

Lance Armstrong (Astana), making his debut on American soil after a three-year hiatus, did not disappoint. Finishing just five seconds off the winning pace and landing himself 10th place behind Canadian TT champion Svein Tuft (Garmin-Slipstream) and ahead of British sprinting sensation Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad).

Last to go was defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Astana), who was chasing the lightning fast Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank). Both men lit up the fan-packed course and put on a great show for the cycling enthusiasts lining the streets, Tour de France style.

Cancellara finished the course in first place with a scary time of 4 minutes and 32 seconds with Leipheimer finishing 2 seconds on his tail.