Alberto Contador (Astana) showed he is on spectacular form for the Critérium du Dauphiné by winning the 6.8km prologue around Evian-les-Bains.
Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) stunned the big favourites and showed his huge talent yet again by setting a time of 8:36 but then Contador blasted home to beat the young American by two seconds.
Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) was third at five seconds, with Britain’s Gerinat Thomas (Team Sky) fourth at 10 seconds.
Contador immediately pulled on the race leader’s yellow jersey and will wear it during Monday’s 191km stage one from Evian-les-Bains to Saint-Laurent-du-Pont.
Prologue top three:
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 8:34
2 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Columbia 0:00:02
3 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) RadioShack 0:00:05
Courtesy Stephen Farrand