Froome powers into yellow
Chris Froome got his Criterium du Dauphine title defence off to the best-possible start with an emphatic victory in the opening time trial.
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The Team Sky rider stormed around the 10.4-kilometre course in Lyon in a time of 13 minutes and 13 seconds, stopping the clock eight seconds quicker than his nearest rival.
There was no holding back from any rider as Froome went toe to toe with Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali out on the course. Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) set a new benchmark time moments earlier but was eclipsed by Froome who rocketed through the second half of the stage to put time into everyone.
Nibali (Astana), who eventually ended the stage in eighth position, 13 seconds back, had been quickest at the intermediate split at the top of the climb.
Times had been tight among the top contenders for much of the day but as Froome entered the final metres it was clear the 29-year-old was riding into yellow.
"I don't think it was necessarily the objective to take the yellow jersey today on such a short, flat time trial but I couldn't be happier with the result," said Froome after the stage.
"I'm here to win the race and we're going to do everything we can. Obviously it's the most important to try and have the yellow jersey at the end of the race, not necessarily right now.
"The 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."
Fastest for much of the day, Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing) took third on the stage, nine seconds back, with Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) a further two seconds adrift.