Dauphiné Libéré Stage 1: Evans wins opener
Australian puts down a marker for the weeks to come

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


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