Cadel Evans so often the nearly man of recent grand tours and last year of the Dauphiné Libéré too made a graphic statement of intent today in winning the opening time trial stage by 8 seconds from his great rival Alberto Contador of Astana.
At 12.1Km the time trial opener was long enough and technical enough to be classes as a stage in it's own right rather than a prologue – it contained a short climb towards the finish too. Last year's winner Alessandro Valverde came in third 23 seconds down on Evans.
The Australian Silence Lotto rider will defend his leader's jersey in tomorrow's 228Km second stage from Nancy to Dijon, but while he said it was “a pleasant surprise” to put 8 seconds into Contador he is not counting his chickens yet counselling that Wednesday's long time trial would be a truer indication of form both for this race and the upcoming Tour de France for which both he and Contador are using this as part of their final warm-up.
Top 10 Stage 1 2009 Dauphine Libere
1) Cadel Evans (Silence - Lotto) 0.15.37 (46.538km/h) 2) Alberto Contador Velasco (Astana) 0.07 3) Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Caisse d'Epargne) 0.23 4) Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) 0.33 5) Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) 0.33 6) Frantisek Rabon (Team Columbia - High Road) 0.34 7) Christian Knees (Team Milram) 0.34 8) Benoit Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux) 0.36 9) José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) 0.36 10) David Millar (Garmin - Slipstream) 0.36
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.