Slovenian Grega Bole (Lampre-Farnese Vini) won the first stage of the Critérium du Daupiné, outsprinting Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in Saint-Laurent-du-Pont.
Welshman Thomas is now in the points jersey and remains fourth overall.
The day’s early break consisted of five riders: Dominique Rollin (Cervelo Test Team), Mathieu Ladagnous (Francaise des Jeux), Cyril Gautier (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Sebastian Minard (Cofidis) and Bled Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
The escape was caught six kilometres from the finish on the final climb, the third category Côte de Miribel-les-Echelles, when Kevin Seeldraeyers (Quick Step) and Oscar Pujol (Cervelo Test Team) attacked hard from the bunch.
As the pair were caught at the start of the winding descent down to the finish, Janez Brajkovic (Team Radioshack) struck out alone. Later joined by Eros Capecchi, the pair clung to a narrow advantage before being passed 600 metres from the line.
Team Sky attempted to lead Thomas out, but Bole and Velits passed the Welshman and contested the win between themselves. First-year-pro Bole had just enough speed and racecraft, keeping close to the barriers to discourage a late Velits surge, to claim the biggest victory of his short career.
Yellow jersey Alberto Contador finished in the middle of the fifty-strong bunch to retain his lead.
David Millar also finished in the pack, moving up to eleventh place overall.
2010 Criterium du Dauphin, stage one: Evian-les-Bains to Saint-Laurent-du-Pont
1. Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini 191km in 4-47-24
2. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC Columbia
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
4. Steve Chainel (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
5. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram
7. Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervelo Test Team
8. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Arkaitz Duran (Spa) Footon-Servetto
10. Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis all same time
General classification after stage one
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 4-55-58
2. Tejay Van Garderen (Usa) HTC-Columbia at 2sec
3. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack at 5sec
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 10sec
5. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quick Step at 12sec
6. Remi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis at 12sec
7. Paul Martens (Ned) Rabobank at 13sec
8. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 14sec
9. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskaltel at 15sec
The escape group’s efforts were doomed
Garmin-Transitions head up the bunch
Alberto Contador gets to wear the yellow jersey for another day
Geraint Thomas: third on stage, fourth overall
A smiling David Millar moved up to 11th overall
Criterium du Dauphine 2010, stage one photo gallery
Criterium du Dauphine 2010, prologue photo gallery
Criterium du Dauphine 2010, prologue: Contador wins, Thomas fourth
Criterium du Dauphine 2010: The Big Preview