Prologue top 5:
1. Alberto Contador (Astana), 8.34
2. Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia), 8.36
3. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack), 8.39
4. Geraint Thomas (Sky), 8.44
5. Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), 8.46
Alberto Contador claims his first stage win at the Dauphiné in four participations. He’ll start stage 1 with the leader’s jersey.
Alberto Contador beats the time of Tejay Van Garderen in 8.34. He’s the stage winner.
Alberto Contador has climbed the first two kilometres in 4.25, which is 4 seconds faster than Jérôme Coppel.
British rider Geraint Thomas (Sky) scored the third best time in 8.44 while his compatriot David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) didn’t meet the expectations. He finished in 8.49, which is not valid for a top ten finish.
Geraint Thomas (Sky) has scored the third best time so far in 8.44.
Jérôme Coppel hasn’t finished as good as he started. He scored the 7th best time so far on the line.
Local boy Jérôme Coppel has set a new best time at the top of the hill after 2km: 4.29.
After one hour and twelve minutes in the lead, Janez Brajkovic has been overtaken by Tejay van Garderen. The American neo pro from HTC-Columbia who finished 2nd overall at the Tour of Turkey in April and saved the win of his team-mate Michael Rogers at the Tour of California in May by giving him a wheel after puncture has scored 8.36 on the finishing line. That’s three seconds faster than the Slovenian.
Dario Cataldo who pulled out of the Giro d’Italia with two days to go scored the second best time so far in 8.46 only eight hundredth of a second faster than Rémi Pauriol who is now third.
While only two riders per team are yet to complete the course of the prologue, Janez Brajkovic is a solid provisional leader of the classification with a 7 seconds advantage over Rémi Pauriol. He has set an average speed of 47,168km/h. One month ago, he finished 6th in the time trial of the Tour de Romandie in Moudon, which is distant only 50 kilometres from Evian-les-Bains but on the other side of the Léman lake. Brajkovic also scored the second best time of the time trial at the Vuelta Castilla y Leon behind Alberto Contador in April.
After claiming his first pro win at the Tour of Belgium last week, Ben Hermans is the second RadioShack rider entering the provisional top 10 with his time of 8.51. His team-mate Janez Brajkovic remains in the lead so far.
RadioShack’s directeur sportif Alain Gallopin who directed Alberto Contador at Astana in the past two years was adamant that the Spanish champion is the hot favourite for the prologue. "Contador will win", he told letour.fr. "The classification will be dictated by the hill and the one kilometre false flat that prolonges the hill. As far as we are concerned, we didn’t come to the Dauphiné with a team to control the race for one great leader but with a team made of several leaders: Chris Horner, Janez Brajkovic, Haimar Zubeldia, Ben Hermans and Sergio Paulinho. They are all able to get a good position at the end. Contador and Menchov are the only two great leaders in this race."
Patrick Gretsch of HTC-Columbia scored a valuable third time so far on the line in 8.47. He has set the new fastest time uphill at the "Chemin de chez Constantin". Gretsch is a neo pro from Germany who finished 5th in the time trial of the Tour of Murcia and 6th in the very hard time trial of the Bayern Rundfahrt for his first appearances in races against the clock in the pro ranks.
Française des Jeux’s team manager Marc Madiot described the course of the prologue for letour.fr: "It’s far from simple. It’s intense and technical. It favours a climber who has the sense of the rhythm." The Frenchman suggested the route suits Alberto Contador.
The three Slovenians lining up in the Dauphiné are all in the top 7 so far after the passage on the finishing line of 100 riders! Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) leads in 8.39, Grega Bole (Lampre) is 5th in 8.49 and Kristjan Koren (Liquigas) is 7th in 8.51.
Christophe Riblon remains the fastest in the climb so far and therefore can still hope for the polka dot jersey. "I’m very happy with my ride today", the Ag2r-La Mondiale rider said. "The right place for creating a difference is after the top of the climb. We have worked hard during our training camp in the Alps for performing in June and July. I can’t follow people like Alberto Contador in the big climbs but I aim at a top 10 finish on GC."
Janez Brajkovic has quickly put an end to Rémi Pauriol’s lead in the prologue. The Slovenian time trial champion from RadioShack has set a new best time in 8.39.
Cycling prodigy and Norwegian time trial champion Edvald Boasson Hagen who recently came back in competition at the Bayern Rundfahrt last week following a two-month break due to achyllis injury didn’t produce any miraculous result in this prologue as he clocked 9.03 only.
Rémi Pauriol of Cofidis scores a new best time on the finishing line: 8.46. He’s 2 seconds ahead of Christophe Riblon.
Basque rider Gorka Verdugo positioned himself in second place so far in 8.49, between Christophe Riblon (8.48) and Maarten Tjallingi (8.49).
Former Tour de France prologue winner Christophe Moreau who climbed the "chemin de chez Constantin" eight seconds slower than Christophe Riblon clocked the fifth best time so far in 8.52. His compatriot from Ag2r-La Mondiale stays in the lead in both intermediate and final classification.
The new best time is the one Christophe Riblon in 8.48.
HTC-Columbia’s directeur sportif Allan Peiper told letour.fr prior to the start: "My prediction for today’s top 3 is: 1. Millar, 2. Contador, 3. Thomas. It’s a really good course with only two dangerous corners and they aren’t even dangerous if you have seen it. The climb is not so hard. Strong riders can do it flat out on the big ring."
There is a king of the mountain price at the top of the climb "Chez Constantin" after two kilometres on the course of the prologue. Laurent Mangel remains the fastest at that point. He climbed three seconds faster than Tjallingi and lost 13 seconds to the Dutchman in the downhill section.
Dutchman Maarten Tjallingi is even more exceptional than Jean-Christophe Péraud. He’s also a former mountain-biker. His time is 8.49.
French champion for time trial Jean-Christophe Péraud rode seven seconds faster than Stephan Denifl. With 8.51, he’s the best so far.
Stephan Denifl storms to first position so far. He clocked 8.58. He preceeds Laurent Mangel by 1 second, Rein Taarämae by 2 seconds, Andrey Zeits by 4 seconds and Lars Bak by 5 seconds.
On cyclingnews.com, Garmin-Transitions’ David Millar announced that he wants to win the overall classification of the Dauphiné. As a specialist of short term efforts against the clock, he’s a logical favourite for the prologue. “These days I tend to miss more prologues than I hit but I like the route of this one,” he said. “I tend not to go hard enough in the first half of prologues but then hold my speed well. The Dauphiné prologue climbs up above the lake for the first half and so I think it suits me.” The Scot will be one of the last ten riders to start. He’ll be in action at 18:31.
Estonian time trial champion Rein Taarämae didn’t beat Laurent Mangel. He put himself in second position so far in 9.00. At the top of the climb after 2km of racing, the Cofidis rider was 5 seconds behind Mangel but only one second at the end.
Local newspaper Le Dauphiné interviewed “l’enfant du pays” Jérôme Coppel. The captain of the Saur-Sojasun team is supported by the 182 members of his fan-club, the « Kop Coppel ». “The Criterium is the race of my heart”, Coppel said. “It’s one of the biggest races in the world and it happens at home.” He hails from Arbusigny 67 kilometres away from Evian-les-Bains where he knows all the details of the route of the prologue. He has high ambitions today.
Saur-Sojasun’s Laurent Mangel is the first rider under nine minutes. He clocked 8.59.
Markel Irizar’s illusion of staying in the lead as long as in the prologue of Paris-Nice two years ago hasn’t last. Astana’s Andrey Zeits scores 9.02. The first rider of every team has completed the course now.
Not all the teams have chosen to have their captain starting last. Only half of the riders with back numbers finishing by 1 occupy the last positions of the starting order. The other half might have predicted a possible storm and weather change after 6pm. It’s nice, sunny and slightly windy for now.
Markel Irizar has set a new best time in 9.04. He already put himself in such a position in the early hours of the prologue of Paris-Nice in 2008. He maintained the best time until Thor Hushovd eventually beat him in extremis but he stayed in second place that day.
The 175 starters of the Criterium du Dauphiné include riders from 28 different nationalities. France leads the pack with 48 cyclists, ahead of Spain (27) and Italy (18). The distribution is the following:
6: The Netherlands, Russia
5: USA, Great-Britain
2: Austria, Belarus, Canada, Kazakhstan, Norway, Poland, Portugal
1: South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine
Inaki Isasi from Euskaltel clocked the fastest time so far in 9.08. He preceeds Russell Downing (9.16) and Anthony Delaplace (9.18).
The Caisse d’Epargne team has chosen Spanish road race champion Ruben Plaza as their last starter. "We have many cards to play", directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois told letour.fr. "For the overall classification, we also have Juan José Cobo and Christophe Moreau among others. That’s why it doesn’t disturb me to have Plaza starting last. We have taken into account that the weather might change during the race but I don’t think the four or five seconds difference it can make will impact the final result of the Dauphiné."
Welcome to the live coverage of the 62nd Criterium du Dauphiné. The 6.8km inaugural prologue has Frenchman Anthony Delaplace as a first starter. The former junior French champion is due to take off at 15:46.