Prologue Play by Play15:58:04 Once again, an enormous and enthusiastic crowd welcomed the start of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California at the 2.1-mile prologue at Stanford University in Palo Alto on a fast, flat course. Two-time World Time Trial Champion confirmed his dominance by winning the day with a scintillating 3:51:211. High Road’s Bradley Wiggins was 2nd, Team Slipstream’s Tyler Farrar took 3rd, and defending race champion Levi Leipheimer was 4th. Team CSC will be ready to defend the leader’s jersey tomorrow during Stage 1. Some of the fastest sprinters in the world – including Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, and Juan Jose Haedo - are hungry for victory so watch for an electrifying finish in Santa Rosa where the crowd will be rooting for hometown hero Leipheimer. Thanks for being with us today. I’m Rick Scott for the Amgen Tour of California online web team.
15:40:29 At 96.8 miles, Stage 1 should be a day for the sprinters. There are three sprints en route to the finish in Santa Rosa and one King of the Mountains category 3 climb.
15:37:52 Complete results will soon be uploaded to our site. Stage 1 starts tomorrow at 11 AM PST in Sausalito and we’ll start our coverage at 10:30 AM PST.
15:35:22 Remember we’ve got an online special today on T-shirts right here on our site. Get a 20% discount by using today’s merchandise code TSRT2008.
15:28:06 The top 5 of the day are Cancellara, Wiggins, Farrar, Leipheimer and Hagan.
15:26:22 Leipheimer finishes in a strong 3:57:525, 4th on the day. Fabian Cancellara has won the prologue for CSC.
15:24:22 Hincapie is 12th for now with a time of 4:01:943. All eyes are on Leipheimer now. Who will win the opening prologue and the first leader’s jersey of the Amgen Tour of California?
15:22:47 Hincapie looks fit. He’s a fan favorite and the massive crowd is cheering him on.
15:20:55 Cancellara nails the best time in an astonishing 3:51:211. Will Levi be able to top that time?
15:19:21 Amgen Tour of California Levi Leipheimer is on deck, the last to start today as defending champion. He wants to win this stage.
15:17:51 American favorite George Hincapie is ready to make his debut with High Road. He can deliver a fast time trial so watch Big George today.
15:15:51 -time time trial World Champion Fabian Cancellara flies down the start ramp. He said the other day that he’s fitter than he was last year at this time so he could challenge Wiggins for the best time today.
15:14:11 Bettini gets a huge cheer from the crowd as the road race champion finishes in 4:14:426 in 77th place.
15:11:32 Millar is 7th in 3:59:789. Thus far, only seven riders have eclipsed the 4-minute mark.
15:09:34 Bettini won a stage here last year. The two-time World Champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist had fun last year and came back for more. If you get a chance, you must come out to see these guys race in-person this week.
15:06:13 Millar looks good in the British time trial champion kit. I’m sure he’s motivated to do something special for Team Slipstream.
15:03:09 Slipstream’s David Millar is a time trial ace and he’s about to roll off. Coming up shortly are Paolo Bettini, Fabian Cancellara, George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer. Don’t go anywhere.
14:59:53 Boonen finishes in 16th at 4:04:560 and Voigt is 27th for now in 4:06:826. Bradley Wiggins is about to finish and he is flying. It’s the best time at 3:55:980 for High Road.
14:55:54 Vandevelde is looking good after his time of 4:01:234. Boonen is grimacing in pain, obviously putting his all into the effort. Here comes CSC's Jens Voigt, last year's second place finisher.
14:51:31 Former World Champion Tom Boonen is off, making his debut in this race with Quick Step. He’s flying now after taking a collection of stages and the overall in the Tour of Qatar a couple weeks ago.
14:48:26 Brajkovic is 49th with a time of 4:12:455. Christian Vandevelde is off now in his debut for Team Slipstream.
14:44:35 Tour de Georgia winner Janez Brajkovic is on the course now. The long, lean rider is here with Astana.
14:42:06 Here comes Tommy Voekler, the former wearer of the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. He's on the course.
14:38:53 Bobby Julich is off. He’s wearing #41, which means the team might be here riding for him this week since he has the first number in the CSC number series.
14:36:00 Freire must be saving his legs for the sprints as his prologue time was 63rd fastest thus far (4:16:269).
14:32:51 Rabobank’s Oscar Freire is on the course. The former World Champion is making his Amgen Tour of California debut.
14:29:50 Hagen lit up the course in 3:58:891 for the 2nd bet time of the day. Watch out for this kid, not just this week, but this season.
14:27:54 It’s a gorgeous day here and the course is lined with fans celebrating the start of this magnificent race.
14:26:27 20-year-old sprinter Edvald Hagen just took off down the start ramp for High Road. Stapleton said he’s flying right now so watch for Hagen in the sprint tomorrow, although he can deliver a fast time trial as he’s wearing the time trial national champion’s jersey of Norway.
14:22:01 Team Slipstream’s Tyler Farrar has just taken the lead with a sensational 3:56:463.
14:20:39 J.J. Haedo is up next, the man who has won more Amgen Tour of California stages than anyone else. The CSC sprinter will have his work cut out for him this week when he goes to the line against the best sprinters in the world.
14:13:58 Look out! Cippo has delivered an impressive performance in his first pro race in years. His time of 4:08:638 is top 20. Perhaps the Lion King is someone else to watch seriously in the sprints this week.
14:10:36 For now, the leader’s board is topped by Larsson, Zabriskie followed by Mark Cavendish of High Road. They are the only thus far to deliver times below 4 minutes.
14:07:31 Danielson’s time is 4:11 and change, good enough for 24th at the moment. Mario Cipollini is up next, making his long-talked about return from retirement. He’s here racing for Rock Racing
13:59:49 Chris Horner made his debut in Astana colors today with a 7th place time for the moment. Tom Danielson is up next in the start house.
13:57:43 CSC’s Gustav Larsson nailed the best time thus far in 3:59:199. Bet he’s going to send some information about the course back to teammate Fabian Cancellara, who will start 4th from the end.
13:53:56 Fast Fred Rodriguez is out on course now in the black & lime green Rock Racing kit. Freddie lives nearby and will be going for stage wins this week against the best sprinters in the world.
13:51:03 Bissell’s Ben Jacques-Maynes, who finished a stunning 3rd in last year’s prologue, just ripped the course in 4:00.172 just missing the best time.
13:50:37 High Road’s leader Bob Stapleton told me yesterday that their best GC man for this race is Thomas Lovkvist and he just delivered the 2nd fastest time of 4:02:338.
13:39:53 Great to have a healthy Stuart O’Grady back in action for CSC. He just covered the course with the second fast time of the day in 4:04:253.
13:38:17 David Zabriskie, looking like he rode right out of a 1970’s movie with his facial hair and stars & stripes national champion skinsuit, scorched the course in 3:59:584 to take the lead.
13:37:37 Looking for spiffy Amgen Tour of California merchandise? We’ve got an online special today on T-shirts right here on our site. Get a 20% discount by using today’s merchandise code TSRT2008.
13:37:30 Adam Hansen, time trial champion of Australia, just left the gate. Watch for him to put in a fast time here for High Road.
13:19:14 132 riders are here today with the heavy-hitters coming towards the end of the day. If you get a chance, check out Frankie & Joe, who are broadcasting live on our site right now.
13:14:52 HealthNet’s John Murphy started fifth and has the best time thus far at 4:04.479.
13:10:00 First rider to start today is Iker Camao of Saunier Duval-Scott. Riders start at one-minute intervals. Look for times to be between 4-5 minutes. The sun is shining and the crisp air has warmed up.
13:07:57 The prologue is a flat 2.1-mile course at Stanford University, a change from the past two years that finished with a climb up to Coit Tower, won both years by Leipheimer. This fast route favors the powerful riders like World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara of CSC and Olympic Gold Medalist in the pursuit Bradley Wiggins, making his debut with High Road today. But don’t count out Leipheimer, who wants to win the yellow leader’s jersey to wear tomorrow on stage 1, which finishes in his hometown, Santa Rosa.
13:07:14 Thank you for joining us for the opening prologue of the 3rd Amgen Tour of California, an eight-day, 650-mile stage race from Northern California to Southern California. I’m Rick Scott and the best cyclists from the greatest teams in the world are here, ready to start the 2008 racing season. Back to defend his overall victory from last year is California resident Levi Leipheimer, who has targeted this race as one of his three goals of the season. He’s here with his new team, Astana, who are super motivated for victory. Team CSC has brought a stellar Tour de France strength line-up to gun for the GC win after finishing 2nd the past two years. They’ve got four lethal weapons ready to fire including Jen Voigt, Stuart O’Grady, Jason McCartney and Bobby Julich. America’s ProTour team, High Road, brought a cadre of sprinters, but has George Hincapie here for the overall. Another American team, Team Slipstream, is dramatically revamped and reloaded since last season. They are here with a luminous arsenal that includes Tom Danielson, David Millar, David Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde. Quick Step-Innergetic is here with World Champion Palo Bettini and sprint star Tom Boonen. Nine ProTour squads and eight domestic pro teams are ready to battle for California gold. Gentleman, start your engines. The 2008 Amgen Tour of California is ready to rock!
12:55:51 Thank you for joining us for the opening Prologue of the third Amgen Tour of California.
12:12:27 Welcome to the Amgen Tour of California. Prologue coverage will begin at 12:30