Dutch rider Lars Boom confirmed his ability for riding prologues as he repeated his wins at last year’s Paris-Nice and this year’s Tour of Qatar on the 5.4km course of the Dauphiné in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. He preceded Alexandre Vinokourov by two seconds and Bradley Wiggins by five seconds, as the Kazakh and the Englishman positioned themselves as the fastest of the favourites for the overall ranking in the 63rd Criterium du Dauphiné.
Lemoine early in the lead
When the riders came out to reconnoitre the course of the 5.4 kilometres prologue of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, rain was on the day’s menu. But it cleared up and the course was almost dry when Santo Anza (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the first rider in action. Geraint Thomas (Sky) set a very interesting provisional best time (6.34) at the average speed of 49.270km/h, but the Welshman was soon to be bettered successively by Maarten Tjallingii, Paul Martens (both from Rabobank) and Cyrille Lemoine (Saur-Sojasun). The Frenchman was the 39th of the 175 starters.
Boasson Hagen and Sanchez affected by the rain
One of the favourites, German time trial champion Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), didn’t meet the expectations as he crossed the line with a provisional tenth best time. That was before the rain appeared again on the course in the Maurienne valley. Different conditions later explained why riders like time trial Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) couldn’t equal Lemoine’s time. Spanish champion Luis Leon Sanchez also rode slower than the Frenchman.
Kadri above 50km/h
Rain stopped and weather conditions turned favourable for the last fourty riders in action. Lemoine’s virtual stage win came to an end after one hour and fifty minutes of strong hopes for the Saur-Sojasun rider. Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was the first rider to go above the 50km/h average speed. Hot favourite Bradley Wiggins met the expectations with an excellent time at 50.63km/h.
Boom caps it off
Lars Boom took the benefit of the characteristics of the course that suited him at perfection with cornering and sprinting. He rode almost one second faster than Wiggins per kilometer. His average speed of 51.41km/h made him win his second prologue of the year after the one of the Tour of Qatar in Doha in February. Alexandre Vinokourov created a bit of a surprise as he positioned himself in second place between Boom and Wiggins. Ag2r-La Mondiale’s veteran Sébastien Hinault became the first polka dot jersey of the Dauphiné after scoring the best time in the uphill start. German neo pro John Degenkolb from HTC-Highroad took the white jersey after finishing fourth of the prologue.
"I didn’t expect to win today because last week I had a problem with a knee since the Tour of California. I had a good training last week. I’m happy with this win of course. This is my first time riding the Dauphiné. Like at Paris-Nice last year, this prologue was a very good one for me. 5.4 kilometres with a small hill was the perfect course for my characteristics."
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!!!