Lyon - Britain's defending champion Chris Froome won the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, an individual time-trial in Lyon, on Sunday.
Froome finished the 10.4km course in 13min 13sec, 8sec ahead of biggest rival Alberto Contador of Spain.
Early pace setter Bob Jungels of Luxembourg finished third at 9sec ahead of American Andrew Talansky.
a bit surprised to be honest, I didn't expect to win. It's a result
that confirms the work done in training and the fact that I'm in form,"
Froome said afterwards.
Froome trailed Italy's Vincenzo Nibali by
2sec at the intermediate checkpoint following the stage's lone climb,
the fourth category Montee de l'Observance, while holding a slender 1sec
advantage over Spain's Contador.
However, the Team Sky rider set a
blazing pace over the second half of the circuit to propel himself into
the race leader's yellow jersey and overhaul Nibali, who finished the
day down in a tie for eighth at 13sec.
"During the course I didn't
have any information regarding the times of my rivals, I preferred to
just focus on myself and what I was doing," said Froome.
"I only knew that the final 4km were difficult going into the wind, so I saved my strength for that part."
who will also try to defend his Tour de France title next month,
admitted that he hadn't anticipated wearing yellow quite so soon.
a bit of an unexpected situation because I didn't expect to find myself
in this position but it's great to not have any time to make up.
"I'm going to defend the yellow jersey even if I didn't think I'd have it right now.
Dauphine this year is really hard right from the opening stages. I
think tomorrow again we can expect a really big race in the mountains,"
added the Team Sky rider.
Monday's second leg is a 156km ride between Tarare and the Col du Beal, with a final climb of 13.6km at 6.6 percent.
Results from the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, a 10.4km individual time-trial in Lyon, on Sunday:
1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY), 13min 13sec.
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) at 8sec.
3. Bob Jungels (LUX/TRE) 0:09
4. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 0:11
5. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) same time
6. Lars Boom (NED/BKN) 0:12
7. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/SKY) s.t.
8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 0:13
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) s.t.
10. Matthias Brandle (AUT/IAM) s.t.
11. Jan Barta (CZE/APP) s.t.
12. Maciej Bodnar (POL/CAN) s.t.
13. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 0:14.
14. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/OPQ) s.t.
15. Aleksejs Saramotins (LAT/IAM) s.t.
16. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) s.t.
17. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 0:15.
18. Martijn Keizer (NED/BKN) s.t.
19. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) 0:16.
20. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) s.t.
23. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) 0:19
34. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 0:24
40. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 0:28