Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins won the prologue in the 8-day Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré on Sunday, finishing slightly faster than Americans Levi Leipheimer (2nd) and David Zabriskie (4th).
Leipheimer, the overall winner in 2006, was the last to start the 2.6-mile time trial in Grenoble and finished less than 2 seconds behind Wiggins, who rides for Cofidis.
The Dauphiné Libéré is considered one of the best warm-ups for the Tour de France, which starts in London on July 7 this year. It has a similar mix of time trials, flat and mountainous stages that riders will face in the three-week long Tour.
Some riders, like Discovery Channel's Leipheimer, might give it too must gusto, though. The cyclist, who rode on Gerolsteiner last year, admitted to CyclingNews that he may have used too much energy to win last year's Dauphiné, leaving him depleted at the start of the Tour.
Leipheimer is being touted among this year's favorites, as are Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Andreï Kashechkin (Astana, finished 3rd in prologue), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Alberto Contador (Discovery) and Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto).
The American contingent this year includes Leipheimer, George Hincapie and Tom Danielson on Discovery, and Zabriskie, Bobby Julich and Christian Vande Velde for Team CSC.
Sunday is a 136-mile fairly flat stage from Grenoble to Roanne.
Results and more at CyclingNews.