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Criterium du Dauphine 2018: Prologue


Cyclingnews live coverage is back, I hope you've all recovered from a dramatic finale to the Giro d'Italia last weekend. We've moved from Italy to France this weekend for the Criterium du Dauphine prologue. The first rider, Johan le Bon will be off in just under 10 minutes. 

Speaking of the Giro d'Italia, you may have noticed that our new Cyclingnews Films production CRESCENDO is out. It takes a look at some of the tales from the final week of the corsa rosa. You can find all the details about how to get your hands on it here.

The first three riders have started their efforts and it won't be long before we see how they have fared. For a full rundown of today's start times, click here.

Niki Terpstra will be off in about three minutes. Here is the Dutchman warming up. You might also notice the fine weather behind him. 

Le Bon has finished his time trial to set an early benchmark of 7:59. I expect that to be beaten pretty soon. 

In the meantime, Pierre Rolland has just gone fastest at the intermediate check - there's something you don't say a lot. He's a second quicker than Le Bon and Cummings. 

After posting the same time as Le Bon at the intermediate check, Cummings has taken 16 seconds out of him in the second half of the course. Cummings posts a time of 7:43.

A tidy time by Pierre Rolland as he stops the clock at 7:52. Not bad from the Frenchman, but let's see how he stacks up against some of the other potential GC riders. 

As I was typing, Alex Edmondson shaved another seven seconds off the fastest time. 7:36 for the Australian. 

Victor Campenaerts is fast approaching the intermediate check. What can he do? The European champion was bitterly disappointed to miss out on a stage win at the Giro and he'll be giving it everything today. 

Meanwhile, Zakarin has completed his run in a time of 7:43, which is exactly the same time as Cummings. A strong performance from the Katusha rider. 

Campenaerts is three seconds off the pace at the intermediate, on the same time as Niki Terpstra, who has just finished his ride two seconds slower than Edmondson. 

We have another TT specialist out on the road now with Jonathan Castroviejo. He'd have preferred a hill in the middle of this but let's see what he does. 

Well, Campenaerts obviously still had plenty to give and takes nine seconds out of Edmondson in the second part of the course to beat him by six seconds. How long can he stay in the hot seat?

Castroviejo is six seconds in arrears to Edmondson at the intermediate, which comes after 3.47km. 

The women's peloton has also been time trialling today and put on a thrilling show at the Lotto Thuringen Ladies Tour. Ellen van Dijk put in a blistering performance to win the stage but it wasn't quite enough to knock Lisa Brennauer off the top spot in the GC. You can find the results here.

Castroviejo also made up time on Edmondson in the second part of the course but it's not enough to overhaul Campenaerts. He slots into second with a time of 7:34. It seems that Edmondson either went out too hard or made an error in that second half. 

Jos van Emden going well at just a second down at the intermediate. Meanwhile, Bob Jungels is getting ready for his effort. The Luxembourg rider will be off in just three minutes. 

Quick-Step Floors have Julian Alaphilippe to come later today. He is their main GC rider but Jungels could be a dark horse at this race. 

Somebody has been bashing on the calculator and the organisers tell us that Campenaerts averaged 53kph. That would put him over the speed limit on my road. 

53kph is not fast enough though as Van Emden takes four seconds out of the European champion's time. He stops the clock at 7:26 to comfortably put himself into the lead. 

As ever, it's all about measuring your effort in a time trial. We've seen several riders go faster in the second part of the course, compared to the first. 

A decent run from Benjamin Thomas as he posts the same time as Castroviejo at the intermediate. The 22-year-old is a world champion on the track in the Omnium and Madison. 

Alexis Gougeard has just rolled off the start ramp. He had some issues with his front brakes and was only on the ramp with 40 seconds to go. That'll get your heart rate moving.

Bob Jungels stops the clock at 7:32, which is enough for third place. A solid effort from him. 

We have a couple more time triallists coming up in the next five minutes. Mathias Brandle is just about to start and Neilson Powless will be off soon after. 

Paddy Bevin went well and he puts in a time equal to Campenaerts on the finish line. He lies in provisional third place for now. 

Edmondson remains top of the standings at the intermediate check but he's slipped down to sixth place now. 

Brandle is just one second down at the first intermediate. Can he go faster in the second section too? Meanwhile, Guillaume Martin has just started his run. He's building up to the Tour de France after a fantastic performance in last year's race. His efforts helped secure Wanty Group Gobert a wild card for this year's race. 

Powless also comes through the intermediate after 3.4km and is three seconds shy of the quickest time there of 3:53. 48 riders have passed through the check as things stand. 

Daniel Teklehaimanot getting ready to start his run. He'll be wanting to just get through today and look forward to the mountains. He was dropped by Dimension Data at the end of last year and only secured a contract with Cofidis just before the Dubai Tour. He'll want to give them something back here. He's won the mountains classification at this race before. 

At the finish line, Brandle lost some time compared to most of those around him and slots into fourth at five seconds down on Van Emden. 

Van Emden is one of a few riders to come to the Dauphine having ridden the Giro d'Italia. Campenaerts also did it, though he didn't finish, and Astana's Pello Bilbao has also hot-footed it from Rome to the south of France. 

Powless comes through the line with a time of 7:39, which is 13 seconds slower than Van Emden.

Van Emden can probably settle himself into the hot seat for now. There are not too many riders in the next hour that are likely to threaten his place at the top of the standings. We do have some GC riders coming up soon with Nibali and Bardet setting off at 13:29 and 13:31 respectively. 

Heinrich Haussler is due off at 13:51. He is riding the Dauphine for the first time since 2008 and looks set to start the Tour de France in support of Vincenzo Nibali. The last few years have been an injury battle for Haussler and he's happy to be back in the mix. we spoke to him before he traveled out to the race and you can read what he had to say here.

Thomas De Gendt stops the clock at 7:59 which puts him in provisional 33rd place. He took a brilliant solo victory in last year's opening stage to give him a lengthy stint in the yellow and he'll be aiming to take another win here this week. 

Dario Cataldo is 19 seconds down at the first check. Cataldo is a potential stage winner later in the week and will be key for Pello Bilbao, who is the team's main GC rider here. 

Vincenzo Nibali will be off in under 10 minutes. His time trial has improved over the years, and while he's unlikely to leave today with the stage win, the stage is a chance for him to put a bit of time into a few of his rivals. 

Fabio Jakobsen, Carlos Verona and David Gaudu await their turn on the TT bike. 

It will be interesting to see what Jakobsen can do this week. This is just his first year at WorldTour level but he already has three wins under his belt. 

Vincenzo Nibali gets his bike checked before his ride. 

Romain Bardet sets off. Given his record in time trials, today is likely to be about damage limitation. 

The later Tour de France means that many of the GC contenders have opted for the Tour de Suisse this season. Nibali, however, believes that the Dauphine remains the best place for him to make his final preparations. Read what he had to say ahead of the race, here.

Nibali was 13 seconds slower than the fastest time of Edmondson at the intermediate check. Not too bad for the Italian.

Bardet is not too far behind. He's given away just one second to Nibali in the first half of the course. 

Nibali finishes the course in a time of 7:49, which is 23 seconds off Van Emden. Let's see what Bardet does in just a coupe of minutes. 

It's worth noting that Jaime Roson finished the course a second slower than Nibali. Roson is one of two GC contenders for Movistar, alongside the Paris-Nice winner Marc Soler, who will be off with the last few riders. 

Bardet actually makes up time on Nibali in that second part of the course. Well, colour me shocked. The Frenchman puts in a second on the Italian. Zakarin is only five seconds up on Bardet too so we've got a pretty level playing field in the GC at the moment. 

Here is Bardet out on the road. Today was only a very short effort, but it was a solid ride from him considering some of the difficulties he's had in time trials - not least at last year's Tour de France. 

While you're here, let me shamelessly plug our now offering from Cyclingnews Films, CRESCENDO. Our second production takes a look behind the scenes at the final week of the Giro d'Italia and features some interesting and funny candid moments plus interviews with those in the middle of the action. You can find all the information and links here.

Coming up in the next five minutes we have Michal Kwiatkowski and Pello Bilbao. If he's on a good day, Kwiatkowski could trouble the top 10. Bilbao will be looking to get through this as close to his GC rivals as possible. 

Coming up in the next five minutes we have Michal Kwiatkowski and Pello Bilbao. If he's on a good day, Kwiatkowski could trouble the top 10. Bilbao will be looking to get through this as close to his GC rivals as possible. 

This is what the top five looks like as Kwiatkowski sets off for his ride. 

Adam Yates warms up. He'll be off in under 10 minutes. 

Michal Kwiatkowski is going great guns at the moment. He's the first rider to match Edmonsdon's time at the first split. Can he do what Edmondson couldn't and hold that all the way to the line?

Bookwalter puts in a solid time of 7:36 to provisionally go into the top 10. Meanwhile, Bilbao is just 12 seconds down at the first split. 

Kwiatkowski sprints all the way to the line to go 1.6 seconds quicker than Van Emden and set the fastest time. In fact, he was sprinting for most of the final kilometre. 

Here are the updated standings after Kwiatkowski's great run.


Coquard channels his inner Thomas Voeckler as he drives for the line. He loses 20 seconds to Kwiatkowski but he'll be more concerned with the sprint stages to come. 

Bilbao loses 21 seconds to Kwiatkowski, which is two seconds quicker than Bardet, showing that he's held his form coming out of the Giro d'Italia. 

Adam Yates going well and he loses just 10 seconds at the first intermediate. He's one of the strongest GC guys out there at the moment. 

Adam Yates crosses the line 21 seconds down on Kwiatkowski which puts him on the same time as Bilbao. 

Here is Kwiatkowski, or Kawasaki as his teammates sometimes call him, during his effort. That was a strong ride from the Polish national champion and it will be hard to beat but his teammate Geraint Thomas is still to come. 

Dan Martin has just set off for his ride. Where will he slot into the GC riders. Martin, unlike his namesake, is not a fan of the time trialling discipline. 

Less than 20 riders left to start and we have a whole host of GC contenders still to come, including Marc Soler, Julian Alaphilippe, Emanuel Bucchmann, Pierre Latour and Geraint Thomas. 

Hugo Houle will be the final rider off the ramp at 14:40. 

Lars Boom sets off. Boom hit the headlines for the wrong reason last month when he was disqualified from the Tour of Norway for punching a rider. He later apologised for his actions. 

Gianni Moscon stops the clock three seconds slower than his teammate Kwiatkowski. That's enough to put him into third place for now. 

Dan Martin comes through the finish line and gives away 28 seconds. that puts him behind the likes of Nibali and Bardet but not too far, which he'll be relatively pleased about. 

South African champion Daryl Impey is out on course. He could threaten Kwiatkowski's time, but let's see. 

Lars Boom tries to get in as much air as he can as he powers to the line. He's 14 seconds down on Kwiatkowski as he stops the clock. A solid effort from the Dutchman. 

Further up the course, Julian Alaphilippe is on his way. That goatee doesn't particularly aero. Maybe it is, I haven't really done the tests due to my inability to grow a beard. 

Jesus Herada sets off and it looks like he's got a problem with the zip on his skinsuit. It looks like it may have broken and it is held together with safety pins. Skinsuits are tight and they're known for going bust at just the wrong time. He was unlikely to be in the mix anyway but that will not help his time. 

Warren Barguil finishes the course. It's not a great time from the Frenchman as he gives away 49 seconds to Kwiatkowski, which is about 25 seconds to most of the GC riders. 

Just four riders left to start now

A very good ride from Alaphilippe, who is just 14 seconds off Kwiatkowski's time. Maybe I was wrong about the facial hair...

Marc Soler hits the line 20 seconds off the fastest time, which is one second quicker than Bilbao. Soler has had a great season so far in 2018. 

Despite the safety pined skinsuit, Herrada manages to lose just 26 seconds, though it could have been less had he not free wheeled across the line. Meanwhile, Jens Keukeleire crosses the line just nine seconds down. A very good ride from him. 


Geraint Thomas hits the deck going around a corner. He looked like he was going well but that will lose him a hat full of time. 

Thomas missing bits of skin and skinsuit but he looks ok. A few expletives were issued as he got back on his bike. More frustrated than anything else I reckon. 

Latour gives away 26 seconds on the line. He'd have hoped for a little bit better.

Thomas finishes his ride losing 21 seconds to Kwiatkowski. You'd have to imagine that he'd have been well up there with his teammate if he hadn't crashed. 

It could have been much worse for Thomas though. His head rattled around as he went down almost face first. Fortunately, he managed to avoid hitting his head on the ground but he came down hard. 

Hugo Houle crosses the line 22 seconds down to complete the prologue. 

Michal Kwiatkowski is the winner of the prologue and the first wearer of the yellow jersey. 

This is how today's stage finished and it is also how the GC looks. 

“After 40 days without racing of course it is a bit of a surprise but I know how hard I was training to be in a good shape here at the Dauphine and also preparing for the Tour. You have to always come to the start thinking about the win or otherwise you’re not able to perform well," Michal Kwiatkowski said after his win. 

This is how Thomas looked after crossing the line earlier on.

We caught up with Thomas after his crash and you can read his full comments here.

A full recounting of today's action is available in our report along with results and photos. You can find it all here.

That is it from our live coverage of today's stage. We'll be back tomorrow for stage 1, make sure to tune in. 

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