Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) causes a sensation by winning the 8-kms prologue in 10:56.
Jens Voigt, the prologue winner in 2005, is still a rider to take into account at 39. He is second in 10:59.
Winner of the prologue last year, Alberto Contador is currently third, six seconds behind Lars Boom!
Czech Roman Kreuziger is 6th fastest in 11:11. The former Tour of Switzerland and Tour de Romandie winner is 13 seconds behind Lars Boom and is also beaten by his young comaptriot and team-mate Peter Sagan.
Fastest on the hill after all riders have now climbed it, Lars Boom will take the first polka dot jersey in this Paris-Nice.
Levi Leipheimer also trails Lars Boom, by six seconds. The American is second at this stage.
Briton David Millar is also unable to better Boom’s time. The Garmin time-trial specialist is 4th fastest on 11:07.
The road Olympic champion is 4th fastest in 11:11. Most favourites started but Lars Boom is still fastest.
Arch-favourite Alberto Contador, the 2007 winner, just started.
Vuelta winner Alejandro Valverde, one of the leading favourites in this edition, is 22nd at this stage, 28 seconds behind Lars Boom.
Second overall last year, Frank Schleck has to be content with 67th place in 11:44.
Slovenia’s Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) clocks the 4th quickest time in 11:12.
A rather disappointing time for Christian Vandevelde (Garmin Transitions) in 11:38. The American is only 51st fastest at this stage.
Daish hopeful Jakob Fuglsnag is convinced is Team Saxobank can do well on this Paris-Nice.
"Weâ€™re going to try and do as well as possible. Frank (Schleck) was close last year and weâ€™re going to give it a try this year. Frank and Jens (Voigt) are in very good condition. Itâ€™s going to be exciting," he told France Television.
American Chris Horner (RadioShack) is 7th quickest in 11:16.
Good time for Garmin’s Tom Danielson in 11:23 (10th fastest).
Kevin Seeldrayers, the white jersey winner last year in Paris-Nice, was only 57th fastest. He will not keep his jersey as the best young rider, so far held by Peter Sagan, who was a minute faster than him.
Cyclo-cross specialists are obviously in great shape. Lars Boom was world champion in the discipline in 2008 while second-placed Peter Sagan was silver-medallist at the junior world the same year.
Half the field have completed the course. Lars Boom (Rabobank) still leads the way in 10:56.
With 47 riders, France is the country with the most starters in this Paris-Nice, followed by Spain (25) and Belgium (16)
47 : France
25 : Spain
16 : Belgium
14 : Netherlands
13 : Italy
7 : United States
6 : Germany, Russia
5 : Australia, Slovenia
4 : Britain
3 : Canada, Denmark, Ukraine
2 : Ireland, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Sweden
1 : Argentina, Belarus, Colombia, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland.
Boom is also the fastest at the finish in 10:56.
Dutchman Lars Boom (Rabobank) improved the fastest time on the climb in 2:27.
The temperature on the prologue is three degrees. The final stretch is windswept but the sky is a beautiful blue.
Italy’s Marco Marcato is just a little bit faster on the Cote de Boursouffle than Jos Van Emden in 2:28.
An intersting time for track specialist Gerain Thomas of Britain. The Team Sky rider is 4th in 11:16.
L’Equipe are publishing an interview with Alberto Contador, in which he says he is "much more relaxed and able to work in good conditions and to focus on his goals" than last year when he had to team-up with Lance Armstrong in the Astana team. Contador’s brother Fran also describes the Tour de France champion as a born winner: "Since he was a kid, he has been a winner. Every time he tried a sport, his goal was to be the best."
In the Journal du Dimanche, Astana team manager Yvon Sanquer said he had "not met a harmed man" in Contador. "Alberto turned the page. He’s riding with trustworthy friends who will support him all season."
2009 - Alberto Contador
2008 - Thor Hushovd
2007 - David Millar
2006 - Bobby Julich
2005 - Jens Voigt
The prologue takes place on a rather hilly course, which includes the 3rd category Cote de Boursouffle at km 1.5. The fastest at the top will hold the first polka-dot jersey in this Paris-Nice.
The youngest rider in this Paris-Nice is Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Liquigas), who is 20.
The oldest rider is Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank), who is 39 and won the prologue in 2005.
Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Liquigas), the youngest rider in the bunch, is now the fastest in 11:06.
Dutchman Jos Van Emden (Rabobank) was fastest on the CÃ´te de la Boursouffle in 2:28.
Spain’s Xavier Tondo Volpini (Cervelo) clocked the fastest time so far in 11:06. It’s Tondo’s first race in France but he already won prologues in the past at the Joaquim Agistinho trophy and last year in the Ruta del Sol.
Dutchman Roy Curvers (Skil Shimano) is the first to finish in 13:02.
Welcome on the 68th edition of Paris-Nice. The 8-kms prologue in Montfort-L’Amaury starts at 13:40. Dutchman Roy Curvers (Skil Shimano) will be the first starter.
Welcome on the 68th edition of Paris-Nice. The 8-kms prologue in Montfort-L’Amaury starts at 13:40. Dutch Roy Curvers (Skil Shimano) will be the first starter.