Swedish national time trial champion Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM) took the opening stage of the 70th edition of Paris-Nice, from Dampierre-en-Yvelines to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse. Larsson completed the rolling 9.4km time trial course in 11:19, besting Sky’s Bradley Wiggins by just one second. American Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) slotted in third just four seconds back.
In something of a surprise, reigning world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma), who won Paris-Nice last year, was a bit off his game today and trailed in at 23 seconds back, in 28th place.
Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma), was the first French rider in, taking sixth place. Wiggins, Andreas Klöden (Radioshack-Nissan) and Martin were the last off the starting line, and as a result faced more difficult conditions as the rain began to fall during the last half-hour of the race.
Thirty-one-year old Larsson won an Olympic time trial silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Monday’s second stage of 185.5 kilometers will begin in Mantes-la-Jolie, in the Yvelines district west of the capital Paris, and finish in Orleans.