World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara Takes Victory at 2008 Amgen Tour of California Prologue in Palo AltoRace Kicks Off to Enthusiastic Crowd in Palo Alto
PALO ALTO, CALIF. February 17, 2008 – The 2008 Amgen Tour of California started on a high note in Palo Alto when World Champion Fabian Cancellara (SUI) of Team CSC bested a world-class field containing nine World Champions to claim victory on a fast, flat course lined shoulder-to-shoulder with cheering fans. The enthusiastic crowd cheered on the cyclists as they made their way from downtown Palo Alto to Stanford University.
Completing the 2.1-mile course with a record time of 3:51.21, Cancellara will begin day two of the race wearing the yellow Amgen Leader's Jersey when Stage 1 takes the riders from Sausalito to Santa Rosa on Monday morning. Today, Cancellara became the first foreign rider ever to wear the yellow jersey in the Amgen Tour of California.
In second place, four seconds behind Cancellara, was Bradley Wiggins (GBR) of High Road, followed by Tyler Farrar (USA) of Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30, who came in third, five seconds off the pace. Team High Road became the general team classification leader after the first day of racing with a total time of 11:52.
"What a great start to a race that promises to have the complete attention of cycling fans worldwide for the next week," said Andrew Messick, president, AEG Sports, presenter of the race.
"With enthusiastic crowds and welcoming partners, the city of Palo Alto served as an ideal location to see the most accomplished sprinters in the sport do what they do best. This field of world-class cyclists, assembled for the third annual Amgen Tour of California, has some incredible days of racing ahead of them, and the fans in California are in for quite a show.”
Featuring an almost level profile, the 2.1-mile course had cycling fans lined up, almost ten-deep in places, to see the race action.
“It was like being in the Tour de France out there on the course today,” said Cancellara. “The last time I raced in front of so many people was in London last year. The Amgen Tour of California is a really great race. It is good for cycling. The race has had a great start in the past two years. I hope it continues like this.” Last year, CSC won the Team Classification in the Amgen Tour of California.
Defending Champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana finished fourth today, putting him in an excellent position since he is a proven climber and, overall, the race has significantly more climbing this year.
Early race favorites include defending champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana, who finished fourth (3:58:891); George Hincapie (USA) of High Road, who finished 13th (4:01:943); and Tom Boonen (BEL) of QuickStep, who finished 21st (4:04:56).
The Union Bank of California Best Young Rider’s Jersey was claimed by Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) of High Road, who finished fifth at seven seconds. The Herbalife Sprint Jersey went to Bradley Wiggins (GBR) of High Road. The California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey and Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey will be awarded for the first time in the 2008 race tomorrow.
Title sponsor Amgen is continuing its complementary Breakaway from Cancer™ initiative in 2008.
“Amgen is pleased to join AEG for a third year as the title sponsor of the Amgen Tour of California,” said George Morrow, executive vice president, Global Commercial Operations, Amgen. “Today was a great Prologue, beginning what is sure to be a very thrilling race week. At Amgen, we also are excited about the opportunity to celebrate cancer survivors and provide support to people affected by cancer through our Breakaway from Cancer initiative.”
Amgen created Breakaway from Cancer™ in 2005 as a complementary component to its race sponsorship. The initiative is designed to help empower people affected by cancer and supports the services of two nonprofit organizations – The Wellness Community, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope to people affected by cancer, and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country.
For the latest information on the Breakaway from Cancer™ initiative and ways to support those living with the illness, visit breakawayfromcancer.com.
STAGE 1 TOMORROW:Monday, Feb. 18 – Sausalito to Santa Rosa
Estimated Start Time: 11 a.m.
Estimated Finish Time: 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Stage 1 will bring the cyclists 96.8 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. In previous years, Santa Rosa set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race. Best viewing spots will include: the start in Sausalito near Spinnaker restaurant; the finish on Third Street in Santa Rosa; the sprint lines in Point Reyes and Bodega Bay; the climb up Coleman Valley Road; and Occidental, as the race comes down the hill into town.
For full results, archived footage, GPS data, rider bios, course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race Web site at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com
About the Amgen Tour of CaliforniaThe largest cycling event in America, the 2008 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style road race presented by AEG that will challenge the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding 650-mile course from Palo Alto-Stanford University to Pasadena from February 17-24, 2008.
About AmgenAmgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
About AEGAEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Sprint Center, The O2, NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, a Major League Lacrosse team, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers, the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG LIVE, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com .
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