Cancellara Wins Olympic Time Trial
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) is the Olympic time trial champion. Cancellara powered over the two-lap, 47.3-km course in Beijing, winning the gold in 1:02:11. Gustav Erik Larsson (Sweden), Cancellara's CSC teammate, took the silver at 0:33, and Levi Leipheimer (United States) snared the bronze at 1:09.
Svein Tuft (Canada) set the early standard. The Canadian took the lead with a 1:04:39. For nearly two hours, Tuft's time was the one to beat. Eventually, however, Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez (Spain) seized the lead with a 1:04:37.
Sanchez led the race for seven minutes. Larsson crossed the finish line with a 1:02:44. Three minutes after Larsson took the lead, Leipheimer posted a 1:03:21. Giro d'Italia champion Alberto Contador (Spain) crossed the finish line with a 1:03:29, but by the time Contador finished, Cancellara was on his way.
The word was out. The Swiss was burning up the road.
At the first time check (10.8 km), Cancellara was third, 0:28 behind Contador and 0:10 behind Larsson. At the second checkpoint (23.5 km), the Swiss was 0:16 ahead of Contador and 0:26 ahead of Larsson. At the third time check (34.6 km), Cancellara was 0:10 behind Larsson and only 0:09 ahead of Contador. On the run to the finish, however, Cancellara seized the gold medal. Contador settled for fourth place, missing a medal by just 0:08.
Cancellara said that the Olympic time trial was his focus. He declared that anything other than a gold medal would have been failure for him. The Swiss added that he had seen his wife and daughter only once since the Tour de France and that they and the members of his team shared in his victory.
In the weeks to come, the riders in the Olympics will cross paths in the 2008 Vuelta a Espana, the world championships, and other races. How will they fare? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!