Lars Boom of Rabobank, a former world cyclo-cross champion and also an expert time trialler, won today's Prologue of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphiné in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, with Alexander Vinokourov of Astana second and Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins third.
At just 5.4km, today's course may have been short, but lots of twists and turns as well as traffic islands, roundabouts and assorted street furniture meant that it was highly technical.
Slippery roads as a result of a downpour this morning presented an additional hazard for earlier starters including Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, who had been hopeful of challenging for the victory today.
The Welshman, one of the first riders out today, put in a time of 6 minutes 35 seconds to make himself provisional leader at that stage, his time matched by another time trial specialist, HTC-Highroad's Tony Martin, but others went quicker as the rain stopped and the sun came out.
By the time Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins took to the course in the colours of British national time trial champion, the roads had dried out, and his time of 6 minutes 23 seconds was 3 seconds inside the previous best, which had been set by the AG2R rider, Blel Kadri.
His lead didn't last long however, as the next but one rider out, Rabobank's Boom, crossed the line in a time of 6 minutes 18 seconds on his way to claiming the Prologue win and the leader's jersey which he will sport in tomorrow's 144km stage from Albertville to Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse.
Wiggins would slip a further place down the standings to third with the penultimate rider out on the course, Astana's Alexander Vinokourov, managing to get within 2 seconds of Boom's time.
Criterium du Dauphiné Prologue Result 1 BOOM Lars RABOBANK 06' 18" 2 VINOKOUROV Alexandre ASTANA + 00' 02" 3 WIGGINS Bradley TEAM SKY + 00' 05" 4 DEGENKOLB John HTC-HIGHROAD + 00' 06" 5 KADRI Blel AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 08" 6 POSTHUMA Joost LEOPARD-TREK + 00' 09" 7 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING + 00' 09" 8 RIBLON Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 09" 9 LEMOINE Cyril SAUR-SOJASUN + 00' 10" 10 COPPEL Jérôme SAUR-SOJASUN + 00' 11" 11 MARTENS Paul RABOBANK + 00' 12" 12 DA COSTA Rui MOVISTAR + 00' 12" 13 FARRAR Tyler GARMIN-CERVELO + 00' 13" 14 KESSIAKOFF Fredrik ASTANA + 00' 13" 15 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA-LOTTO + 00' 14" 16 IRIZAR Markel RADIOSHACK + 00' 14" 17 BRAJKOVIC Janez RADIOSHACK + 00' 14" 18 PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 15" 19 HAGEN Edvald Boasson TEAM SKY + 00' 15" 20 TJALLINGII Maarten RABOBANK + 00' 15"
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.