Vuelta 7: Cancellara uncorks golden time trial

Swiss timing to regain leader's jersey

Switzerland's Olympic time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) took the leader's golden jersey of the Tour of Spain on Saturday after winning the seventh stage, a 30-kilometre (18.6-mile) individual time trial.

The 28-year-old completed the course around the Formula One street circuit in Valencia that winds around the Mediterranean city's port in just 36 minutes and 41 seconds despite persisitent rain.

"The most difficult part was the weather conditions. I tried to go as fast as the Formula One. It was a good test for me, a great race," he said after taking the yellow jersey away from Germany's Andre Greipel.

Cancellara also won the only other time trial of the race so far, a 4.8-kilometre course that began and ended in the Dutch town of Assen.

Knicknamed "Spartacus" because of his huge frame which makes him easy to sport in the peloton, the Swiss rider won the men's time-trial at the Olympic Games in Beijing last year and is a double world time-trial champion.

Sunday's eighth stage, a 204.7 kilometre course between Alzira and Aitana will be the first to be held in the mountains and it is seen as one of the hardest of this year's three-week race which ends in Madrid on September 20.

Last year's top three finishers, champion Alberto Contador of Spain, US rider Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre also of Spain, have stayed away this year, leaving the outcome wide open.

© AFP 2009

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