Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara of the Saxo Bank team won the Tour of Switzerland opening time-trial over 7.6km through the streets of Lugano on Saturday.
The defending champion finished one second ahead of Czech Roman Kreuziger with Germany's Tony Martin and Slovak Peter Sagan three seconds off the pace.
Former seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of the United States finished nearly 30 seconds behind the winner.
Cancellara, a triple world champion in 2006, 2007 and 2009 and reigning Olympic time-trial champion, won the prologue last year and went on to claim the overall race victory.
Earlier this month, Cancellara had to deny suggestions that he had used a motorised bicycle to win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix classics.
He produced a stunning second half to his time trial as he turned a six second deficit into a one second lead.
"I think I did everything right," he said. "The margin is not important. What is important is to wear the leader's jersey."
Armstrong, racing in what is expected to be his last race prior to the Tour de France, did not take any chances on the wet roads. The 38-year-old was already 12 seconds off the pace midway through and slipped even further back in the second half, finishing in 44th position.
A spokesman for his RadioShack team said Armstrong "did not want to take any risks on the downhill but overall he felt good."
Armstrong was in a mood to joke on Twitter when he referred to the recent inquiry into Cancellara's bike.
"(Cancellara has) two motors on his bike, the one in his left leg and the one in his right leg."
The second stage (167km) takes the peloton from Ascona to Sierra.
© AFP 2010
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