Bellinzona: Germany`s triple world champion Tony Martin won the opening time-trial of the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday to take the leader`s yellow jersey.
The Omega-Pharma rider, who won the world time-trial races the past three years, covered the 9.4km course around Bellinzona in a time of 13min 48secs, six seconds ahead of Dutchman Tom Dumoulin with Australian Rohan Dennis of Garmin at 13secs.
"I really didn`t expect to win, but I had an almost perfect race," said Martin.
"To wear the yellow jersey in Switzerland my adopted country and with such a start it`s sensational."
Sunday`s 181.8km second stage from Bellinzona to Sarnen should favour the climbers, and Martin admitted: "It (yellow jersey) will be hard to defend (Sunday), because we came here with a team of sprinters."
Swiss star and four-time world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara could only finish fourth at 16 seconds.
"I started on a good rhythm but the climb was tough," admitted Cancellara.
"I could have done better on the descent, but the fall last week (in training) is still playing on my mind."
Britain`s 2012 Tour de France champion and Olympic time-trial gold medallist, Bradley Wiggins, got his campaign off to a modest start by finishing 14th at 32secs.
Defending two-time champion Rui Costa of Portugal clocked the 28th best time, 42secs behind Martin.