Peter Sagan obviously took his post RBA lunch ride fitness to Switzerland to put Cancellara down. Photo: Bettini
Versatile Slovakian Peter Sagan claimed another stage win on the Tour of Switzerland Saturday after beating home hope Fabian Cancellara in the opening prologue. RadioShack's Cancellara, a former four-time world time trial champion, had won on the exact same course in Lugano the past two years.
However Sagan (Liquigas), the winner of two stages last year, scorched over the 7.3 km course to clock a time of 9min 43sec to beat the Swiss by 4sec. Italian Moreno Moser, also of Liquigas, was third at 7, four seconds ahead of Swiss Martin Elmiger of AG2R.
Along with the Criterium du Dauphine in France, the Tour of Switzerland is used by many riders as a crucial tune-up for the Tour de France, to be held June 30-July 22.
Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who has made the Tour's yellow jersey one of his objectives this year, finished in 23rd place at 31, the same time as Dutch climbing specialist Robert Gesink (Rabobank).
Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre), who was pipped for overall victory here last year by American Levi Leipheimer, finished 36 adrift in the same time as Luxemburger Frank Schleck, a third place finisher at the Tour de France last year.
Sagan will now wear the leader's jersey into the second stage Sunday, held over 218.3 km from Verbania to Verbier. The race, which features many formidable climbs and a 34.3 km time trial on Friday, ends Sunday with the 215.8 km ninth stage from Naefels-Lintharena to Soerenberg.