Valence - Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski of Team Sky won the Criterium du Dauphine opening day prologue on Sunday with the best time in a 6.6km individual time-trial.
The 2014 world champion beat Dutchman Jos van Emden by just one second and his Sky team-mate the Italian Gianni Moscon by three seconds.
Another Sky man Geraint Thomas crashed yet again but only dropped 21 seconds on the winner finishing a couple of seconds ahead of fellow race contenders Frenchman Romain Bardet and the Italian Vincenzo Nibali.
"These time differences are derisory by comparison to what awaits us," said Bardet, in reference to the four straight summit finishes with which the eight-day race culminates.
Kwiatkowski agreed with the Frenchman.
"I've still got to lose a bit of weight to be at peak form and looking ahead this is much more difficult than most years," he said.
There are seven hills on Monday's menu with a 179km run to the foot of the Alps.
Results from the Criterium de Dauphine opening day 6.6km time trial on Sunday:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/Sky) 7min 25sec.
2. Jos van Emden (NED/LNL) at 1sec
3. Gianni Moscon (ITA/SKY) 3.
4. Victor Campenaerts (BEL/LOT) 5.
5. Patrick Bevin (NZL/BMC) 5.
6. Matthias Brandle (AUT/TRE) 6.
7. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST) 7.
8. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/LOT) 9.
9. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/SKY) 9.
10. Brent Bookwalter (USA/BMC) 11.
17. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 14.
29. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 18.
39. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 20.
42. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) 21.
43. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 21.
48. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 23.
58. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/BAH) 24.
73. Dan Martin (IRL/EAU) 29.