Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse - Sweden's Gustav Larsson on Sunday won the 9.4km time-trial here to take the first stage of the Paris-Nice classic.
The Vacansoleil rider beat Britain's much-fancied Bradley Wiggins by one second, with American Levi Leipheimer in third four seconds down. Leipheimer's compatriot Tejay Van Garderen was off the pace by nine seconds.
Last year's winner of the "race to the sun", Germany's world time-trial champion Tony Martin, was down 25 seconds on Larsson, with another favourite, Spain's Alejandro Valverde, 30 seconds off the stage winner.
The first Frenchman was Sylvain Chavanel, who took sixth place in the race opener.
Wiggins, Andreas Kloeden and Martin were the last off the starting line but were left to ride in difficult conditions after the heavens opened in the last half-hour of the race.
Thirty-one year old Larsson won an Olympic time-trial silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
On Monday, the second stage takes the riders 185.5kms from Mantes-la-Jolie, in the Yvelines district west of the capital Paris, to Orleans.
Results of the first stage of the Paris-Nice classic time-trial between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse on Sunday:
1. Gustav Larsson (SWE/VAC), 11min 19sec, 2. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) at 1sec, 3. Levi Leipheimer (USA/RSH) 4, 4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 9, 5. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/VAC) 12, 6. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/OPQ) 12, 7. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 13, 8. Markel Irizar (ESP/RSH) 13, 9. Rmi Pauriol (FRA/FDJ) 15, 10. Jerome Coppel (FRA/SAU) 15