Thousands of spectators rolled into Palo Alto Sunday as the 2008 Amgen Tour of California got underway.
Billed as America's equivalent to the Tour de France, the race includes 11 international and six American teams of professional racers.
The team members competed as individuals Sunday in a time trial, called the "prologue." The 2.1-mile course started at Hamilton Avenue at Bryant Street in downtown Palo Alto and finished at Museum Way and Palm Drive at Stanford University, after cyclists rode a lap around the Oval.
Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara, who rides for Team CSC, won the prologue with a time of 3 minutes, 51 seconds. Last year's overall Tour of California winner, Levi Leipheimer, came in fourth in the time trial, crossing the finish line after 3 minutes, 57 seconds.
The prologue kickstarted the 650-mile, eight-day race that will stretch from Palo Alto-Stanford to Pasadena. The Amgen race debuted in 2006.
For results and more information, go to http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/ .