Jurgen Van den Broeck of Omega Pharma-Lotto launched a storming solo attack on the day's final climb to clinch today's Stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné in Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha crossed six seconds later to secure second place, with former world champion Cadel Evans of BMC Racing third. Alexander Vinokourov of Astana was fourth and takes the overall lead.
Van den Broeck's buccaneering attack would no doubt have been enjoyed on television by team mate Philippe Gilbert - the Classics specialist isn't riding this race, but his compatriot's ride to victory was very much in keeping with the kind of attack that has brought Gilbert himself so much success in one day races.
After a number of attacks failed to stick in the early part of today's 144-kilometre stage, a trio of escapees finally managed to get away 20 kilometres after the start in the former Winter Olympic host town of Albertville.
The break comprised the Belgian rider Sven Vandousselaere of Omega Pharma-Lotto, Colombia's Leonardo Duque, in the colours of Cofidis, and Frenchman Vincent Jérôme from Europcar.
At one point, the three breakaway riders had managed to establish a lead of around five and a half minutes, but with Rabobank forcing the pace at the front of the peloton as they sought to protect the overall lead of Lars Boom, winner of yesterday's Prologue, the escape was doomed to failure and the escapees were caught with a little under 10km to go.
Their bid to defend Boom's yellow jersey would prove unsucessful, however, with the Dutch rider, who had admitted to carrying a knee injury even before the Proologue, fading in the latter stages.
Previously, the three escapees had between them swept up the mountains classification points on offer on the two Category 4 and one Category 3 climbs that featured on today's parcours, but it was on the day's final ascent, the Category 2 Montée de Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, that the stage would be decided.
French champion Thomas Voeckler of Europcar had said this morning that he planned to go on the attack, and twice tried to get clear, but it was to be Van Den Broeck who took the stage by the scruff of the neck, unzipped jersey flapping as he went off the front 4km out and flew away from the bunch to ride to victory.
Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 result 1 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA-LOTTO 3h 36' 42" 2 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim KATUSHA TEAM + 00' 06" 3 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING + 00' 07" 4 VINOKOUROV Alexandre ASTANA + 00' 07" 5 ROCHE Nicolas AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 07" 6 HAGEN Edvald Boasson SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 07" 7 PINOT Thibaut FDJ + 00' 13" 8 RUIJGH Rob VACANSOLEIL-DCM + 00' 13" 9 VOECKLER Thomas EUROPCAR + 00' 15" 10 BRAJKOVIC Janez RADIOSHACK + 00' 15" 11 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 15" 12 HERMANS Ben RADIOSHACK + 00' 22" 13 ROLLAND Pierre EUROPCAR + 00' 23" 14 COSTA Rui MOVISTAR + 00' 25" 15 SANCHEZ Luis-Leon RABOBANK + 00' 25" 16 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin HTC-HIGHROAD + 00' 25" 17 SORENSEN Chris SAXO BANK SUNGARD + 00' 33" 18 KERN Christophe EUROPCAR + 00' 35" 19 PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 35" 20 VANENDERT Jelle OMEGA PHARMA-LOTTO + 00' 53" Critérium du Dauphiné Overall Standings after Stage 1 1 VINOKOUROV Alexandre ASTANA 3h 43' 09" 2 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA-LOTTO + 00' 05" 3 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING + 00' 07" 4 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 11" 5 HAGEN Edvald Boasson SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 13" 6 ROCHE Nicolas AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 17" 7 BRAJKOVIC Janez RADIOSHACK + 00' 20" 8 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim KATUSHA + 00' 23" 9 PINOT Thibaut FDJ + 00' 24" 10 VOECKLER Thomas EUROPCAR + 00' 27"
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.