Quadruple World Champion Time Trial Fabian Cancellara delivered another time trial victory today in the opening stage of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg.
The five-day stage race kicked off with an evening prologue in the city center of Luxembourg. Riders faced technical turns, cobbles and a short, but steep cobbled climb, called Breedewee, 700 metres from the finish. Cancellara, the second to last rider to take the start, set a blistering time of 3’42” over the 2,6 kilometres lap, averaging 42,1 km/h and passing the man in the hot seat, Damien Gaudin of Europcar, by 5 seconds. Jimmy Engoulvent got third, 8 seconds behind Cancellara.
“It’s been a long time for me since my victory in E3-prijs Harelbeke. I feel very motivated now for all that is coming,” said Cancellara. I wanted to get a personal win and a win for the team, but I especially wanted to ride the perfect race after our loss a few weeks ago. This win is for Wouter.”
“The problem with time trials is that when it’s over, you always think about what went wrong and where you lost some time,” said Cancellara. “Even when I win, like today, I always find something that I could have done better. The short effort required during a prologue like this one does not correspond with what we do during a normal race. That’s why it’s so interesting.”
Cancellara's team mate Martin Mortensen was the first rider to break the 4-minute mark. His early fast time of 3’56” kept him in the hot seat for the first third of the race. Mortensen ended the day in eighth.
Kim Andersen: “This is a good start for the team. Martin put in a great effort. And the climbers, on our team, but also the ones in the other teams, are grouped together in the GC. With the first stage behind us, we have a lot of work to do.”
Cancellara and Andersen both expressed appreciation for the support LEOPARD TREK received during the stage. Cancellara: “The people of Luxembourg are really cycling-obsessed. They are crazy about the sport in a positive way.”
Cancellara will wear the yellow jersey as the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg continues tomorrow. Stage one begins in Luxembourg-City and covers 198,2 kilometres before the finish in Bascharage. “The course is up and down all day,” noted Andersen. “It corresponds to what the geography of the country is like.”
Cancellara: “We have a really strong team here and we’re looking forward to the other stages with great anticipation.”