Cancellara has forward thinking
Fabian Cancellara focused only on the future after taking the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France for a fifth time in Liege on Saturday.
Cancellara's American squad lost Andy Schleck to injury and team director Johan Bruyneel is absent to focus on a United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation, which has also implicated seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong.
After emulating his 2004 prologue win in Liege, Swiss rider Cancellara said: "I'm looking forward and not looking back.
"I'm here on the Tour de France not thinking about the past.
"The last time the Tour was here, in 2004, I beat Lance by 1.6 seconds and took the jersey, but that was eight years ago.
"We have to focus on now because if we let it (the investigation) crack us, I wouldn't be able to perform on the road like I did today.
"It's up to Lance and Johan to sort out. One year I was in Bjarne Riis' team, and he stayed away from the Tour to leave us in peace, so I've experienced this before. Johan is just leaving us to get on with the job in peace."
Cancellara was the penultimate rider to roll down the ramp and finished the 6.4-kilometre course in seven minutes 13.47 seconds.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) was second in 7mins 20.51secs, with Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) third in 7:20.94.
Defending champion Cadel Evans was the final rider on the course and finished 13th in 7:30.36, losing almost 10 seconds to Wiggins, considered his main rival for overall glory.
The distance and time gains are minute in the context of the 3,497km race to Paris on July 22, which continues tomorrow with the 198km first stage from Liege to Seraing, a suburb of the Belgian city.
Cancellara may defend the maillot jaune for much of the first week but is likely to possess it only on a temporary basis, while Evans and Wiggins have eyes on the prize in three weeks' time.
Evans could even seek to cut his deficit to Wiggins tomorrow, with the stage concluding on a short category four climb.
Evans wrote on Twitter: "Not great a start but not bad. The real stuff starts tomorrow."
While Wiggins and Evans' focus is on Tour glory, Cancellara will have his eye on retaining his Olympic time-trial title on August 1 and this was an indicator the Swiss has rediscovered his form.
Cancellara claimed victory on the opening day for the fifth time, following prologue wins in 2004, 2007 and 2010, plus his time-trial success in Monaco in 2009.
"It's everything an opening can be, it's just great," Cancellara said.
"A lot of pressure went away. I just focus on myself. Today was a 6.4km velodrome, just like in a tunnel, you have to focus on yourself, not focus on left or right or other riders.
"I'm a specialist at that and today was a good day.
"With the memories of eight years ago, it's even more special. I just put everything on the road. It was what I wanted to do today - to win.
"It's always exciting. When you're 23 years old and you come to the Tour and win by beating Lance it's cool and, eight years later, to show again that you're still able to handle makes it a great day."
Evans' team-mate TJ van Garderen was fourth to take the best young rider's white jersey, one place ahead of Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen.
World time-trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) had to change bikes due to a mechanical problem and finished in 7:36 to place 45th.
Frank Schleck, third last year, was 136th, 38 seconds behind.
World road race champion Mark Cavendish was 41st and will seek to add to his tally of 20 Tour stage wins in the first week of the competition.