The top 5 of the prologue is:
1. Lars Boom, 6.18
2. Alexandre Vinokourov, at 0.02
3. Bradley Wiggins, at 0.05
4. John Degenkolb, at 0.06
5. Blel Kadri, at 0.08
Lars Boom wins the prologue of the Dauphiné ahead of Vinokourov and Wiggins. Brajkovic scores the 17th best time.
Alexandre Vinokourov positioned himself in second place between Boom and Wiggins, while Janez Brajkovic is the last man on the road.
The average speed of Lars Boom is 51.41km/h. What a ride!
Lars Boom scored a fantastic time! With 6.18, he bettered Wiggins by around one second per kilometre!!!
Bradley Wiggins’ average speed is 50.63km/h.
Hot favourite Bradley Wiggins meets the expectation: 6.23. He takes the lead of the race provisionally with 12 riders left.
44 hundreds of a second are missing for Joost Posthuma to equal Blel Kadri. The Frenchman keeps the lead.
Lieuwe Westra wasn’t at his ease like at the Tour of Belgium. He scored the provisional nineteenth best time.
Blel Kadri comments on Francetelevisions: "I’m really happy to set the best time for now. I didn’t expect it. I did reconnoitre the course this morning with Christophe Riblon who is a specialist and he explained to me how to ride. I was scared of the rain but it went well. I hope to stay in the lead but there are big favourites yet to race."
Blel Kadri is the first rider to go faster than Cyril Lemoine: 6.26!
Robert Gesink has clocked the thirteenth provisional best time in 6.34. It means the Dutchman has good form and will be a man to watch in the mountain stages of the Dauphiné.
Johan van Summeren, the winner of Paris-Roubaix, is back in action on French soil!
It’s now sunny on the finishing line with a good chance for the weather conditions to be perfect when the favourites will be racing. Tour of Belgium prologue winner Lieuwe Westra is scheduled to start at 2.14pm.
BMC’s Amaël Moinard told Francetelevisions after completing the course: "In the last two kilometres, the road is dry but at the beginning, the uphill and the downhill sections are wet, so it’s still not good for the riders who want to contest the victory today."
Samuel Dumoulin has used a normal road bike instead of a time trial bike because his goal was to get the polka dot jersey, but he failed: he has the second provisional best time at the top of the côte de Bonrieux with 1.15. Sébastien Hinault remains the virtual king of the mountains with 1.12.
Spanish champion for time trial Luis Leon Sanchez is on his way. He remembers Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne for his second place at stage 8 of the Tour de France last year. The Murcian is looking at bringing Rabobank his first victory of the year.
As British rider Daniel Lloyd from Garmin-Cervélo is on his way, the rain has stopped in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and the road is drying up again.
The Criterium du Dauphiné is getting its best quality TV coverage ever this year, as Francetelevisions has added more cameras and zooming systems to make it as beautiful to watch as the Tour de France. Francetelevisions’ head of sport Daniel Bilalian revealed to Le Dauphiné newspaper that TV production for the race has a cost of one million euro. “We’re close to perfection in the way of filming the sport of cycling”, Bilalian said.
Questioned by Francetelevisions, Nicolas Roche who crossed the line with the eighteenth best time said: "The rain didn’t play to my advantage. For winning today, either someone had to ride on dry roads or to take enormous risks."
Norwegian time trial champion Edvald Boasson Hagen couldn’t ride at his best because of the wet road. He came in seventh place, provisionnally, with 6.33. Cyril Lemoine’s leadership remains alive one hour after the Frenchman rode the course under dry conditions.
Belarus rider Kanstantsin Sivtsov looks pretty tired after having finished the Tour of Italy in tenth place overall last Sunday. He scored the 82nd best time out of the 85 finishers when he crossed the line.
RadioShack’s directeur sportif Alain Gallopin told letour.fr that the pressure is not on defending champion Janez Brajkovic who finished third in the prologue of the Dauphiné last year in Evian: “For now he’s very relaxed. It’s not time for pressure yet. He’s in good shape. The week of racing will be long but we have our plan…”
While Simon Gerrans crosses the line in 6.36, it starts raining again in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
An eleventh rider among the 175 starters of the Dauphiné has completed the Tour of Italy: Francesco Reda (Quick Step) who hails from Cosenza and is the only pro cyclist originating from Calabria.
Tony Martin was one of the favourites today but he only clocked the sixth provisional time in 6.33.
The Le Dauphiné newspaper has an interview with defending champion Janez Brajkovic. “My win at the Dauphiné last year has had a huge impact on my career”, the rider from RadioShack explained. “Beating Alberto Contador who is the best rider in the world has boosted my confidence. I’ve really liked this victory. I come back with a different approach this year. It’s part of my preparation for the Tour de France and I believe it’s the best preparation. I’ll try to stay with the best riders but without going beyond my limits. I’ll test my condition in the time trial in Grenoble and in one mountain stage. A top 5 finish would be nice. I only resumed training on May 20. Ma condition is definitely not equivalent to the one I had last year.”
Cyril Lemoine came seventh in the prologue of the Tour of Belgium, won last week by Dutchman Lieuwe Westra who is another hot favourite today.
French specialist of prologues Cyrille Lemoine from Saur-Sojasun set a new best provisional time in 6.29.
Paul Martens is the new provisional leader after his team-mate Maarten Tjallingii from Rabobank. He clocked 6.30. Jean-Christophe Péraud also bettered Tjallingii’s time with 6.33.
Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) comes close to the best time held by Maarten Tjallingii. He’s second in the same second: 6.34.
Sandy Casar must have a special feeling in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Last year he won stage 8 of the Tour de France in this stage ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez. He scored the fourth best time of this prologue in 6.37.
Sébastien Hinault gave everything he could in the climb and clocked in 1.12 at the intermediate time check at the top of the côte de Bondrieux. The experienced rider from Ag2r-La Mondiale would like to get the polka dot jersey today.
10 riders lining up at the Dauphiné have taken part in the Tour of Italy that finished exactly one week ago: Dario Cataldo and Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick Step), Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC-Highroad), Przemyslaw Niemec (Lampre), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Mirko Selvaggi, Frederik Veuchelen and Maxim Belkov (Vacansoleil), Laurent Didier and Volodymyr Gustov (Saxo Bank-SunGard).
“This is a pretty technical prologue, with a few round-abouts”, Ag2r-La Mondiale’s team manager Vincent Lavenu told Le Dauphiné. “It’s a course for explosive riders able to take the curves very fast.” Dutchman Lars Boom from Rabobank is exactly this kind of rider. Maarten Tjallingii’s strong performance will be indicative for the winner of the prologue of the 2010 Paris-Nice.
David Zabriskie didn’t ride faster than Geraint Thomas but Maarten Tjallingii did: the Dutchman who finished third at Paris-Roubaix has the new best time in 6.33.
Garmin-Cervélo’s directeur sportif Johnny Weltz explained: “This prologue is a little bit short for David (Zabriskie). But this year, he’s very consistent in time trials. Now, he arrives directly from California and he might need a couple of days to get back to his rhythm. Wiggins and all the English specialists are here. Cadel Evans shouldn’t be too bad today either.”
Geraint Thomas sets a good time: 6.34, at the average speed of 49.270km/h.
Joaquim Rodriguez has completed the course. He clocked 6.44. It looks pretty good!
Bradley Wiggins is introduced in daily newspaper Le Dauphiné as the hot favourite for today’s 5.4km prologue in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. The course includes the short côte de Bonrieux (800 metres at 5%), right after the start. The fastest man up there will be awarded the first jersey of king of the mountains. Local reporters also tip Wiggins’ team-mate Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Paris-Nice’s winner Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) as his challengers, with newly crowned US time trial champion David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervélo) as another man to watch.
It’s been raining this morning but the course is drying up now. It remains cloudy above the Maurienne valley.
Welcome to the online coverage of the 63rd edition of the Criterium du Dauphiné. For one week, we’ll let you know about every single fact of the race. It starts with a 5.4km prologue. The first starter is Santo Anza from Vacansoleil-DCM, at 11.41.