GRENOBLE, France (AFP) — Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) won the prologue and donned the first leader’s jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished second in the 5.7km time trial, one second behind the Australian.
The 21-year-old former junior world time trial champion crossed the line one second up on Wiggins in the race against the clock in what is a key tune-up race for the Tour de France.
“I wasn’t expecting this, I was more looking at finishing in the first five,” said Durbridge. “It all went well, I was able to ride quick and finish quick. It was the right choice to set off among the first riders. We’d seen the weather forecast and we were worried about the rain which was at risk of falling in the afternoon.”
Wiggins, who has been in fine form this season, winning the Paris-Nice and Tour de Romandie stage races, said he was satisfied with his opening result.
“I am happy enough to finish second, but it is all about the whole week and not just this prologue,” he said. “I could not have asked for more than what I did today.
“It is always the same thing in prologues. When there is more than three hours between the first starters and the last ones, the conditions can vary.
“I am where I want to be. We are now approaching the Tour de France. We are less than four weeks away from the start of the race and there is not much training left to do.
“Now it’s really down to race time.”
Behind the front two, Astana’s Andriy Grivko took third, at three seconds, with Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) fourth and world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) fifth, five seconds behind.
Further back came Australia’s Tour de France titleholder Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) in ninth, at six seconds.
Monday’s first stage is a 187km run from Seyssins to Saint-Vallier.
Editor’s Note: Keep your browser pointed to VeloNews.com for more from the prologue at the Critérium du Dauphiné.