Damien Gaudin (Europcar) took an unexpected win in the short, sharp Paris-Nice prologue in Houilles on Sunday.

The technical 2.9-kilometre route favoured the brave and the powerful, and Gaudin used his track skills to nail the corners at speed to take the win. Fellow frenchman Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) placed second with last year’s overall runner-up Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) in third.

In the absence of last year’s winner Bradley Wiggins, Sky leadership duties have been taken up by Richie Porte. The Tasmanian was last man off, but only just managed to get inside the top 40 in 39th spot, nine seconds adrift of the marker set by Gaudin.

Twenty-six year old Gaudin has won several French track titles in the individual pursuit and Madison. His previous biggest road win was the 2007 edition of the Under-23 Paris-Roubaix.

In all, it was a good start to the race for the French, with five of the top ten positions taken by riders from the host nation.

British riders David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Sky) finished in 82nd and 151st positions respectively, at 12 and 19 seconds.

The race continues tomorrow (Monday) with the first road stage, a 195-kilometre trip from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Nemours. On paper, it’s a day that should suit the sprinters and presents an opportunity for the race lead to change hands. 

Result
Paris-Nice 2013, prologue: Houilles to Houilles, 2.9km

1. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar in 3-37
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1 sec
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 1 sec
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 2 secs
5. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ at 2 secs
6. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 3 secs
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard at 3 secs
8. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana at 3 secs
9. Sebastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar at 4 secs
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 5 secs

Overall classification after prologue
1. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1 sec
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 1 sec
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 2 secs
5. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ at 2 secs
6. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 3 secs
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard at 3 secs
8. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana at 3 secs
9. Sebastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar at 4 secs
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 5 secs
Other
82. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp at 12 secs
151. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (GBr) Sky at 19 secs

Nicolas Roche

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

David Millar

Lieuwe Westra, third

Sylvain Chavanel, second

Winning with the help of helmet adhesive tape: Damien Gaudin takes the prologue

Damien Gaudin in the leader’s jersey

Related links

Paris-Nice prologue photo gallery

Paris-Nice 2013: Start list

Paris-Nice 2013 coverage index

Paris-Nice 2013: The Big Preview

  • William Hirst

    Question to the Team Sky management, what is John doing on a drop handlebar bike instead of a proper time trail bike?