Spain's Iban Mayo fended off the challenge of five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong to take the lead on day one of the Dauphine Libere.
Mayo made light work of the 5.7km time trial
Mayo completed the 5.7km prologue in a time of seven minutes and 51 seconds, two seconds quicker than Armstrong.
Armstrong's effort was good enough for third place, with countryman Tyler Hamilton a second quicker.
Britain's David Millar had to make do with 11th place, 12 seconds shy of Mayo's time.
"I mean to attack everyday to win this race like Miguel Indurain did," said Mayo after Sunday's stage.
The Dauphine Libere, seen as a good indicator for Tour de France form, finishes on Sunday after tough mountain stages and an individual time trial up Mont Ventoux.
Armstrong, though, insisted he was pleased with his form as he bids for a fifth victory in July's Tour.
"My sensations were good and I'm happy," he said. The hill was very tough, especially near the top and that's when I was faster.
"I gave it my all in the descent while being careful not to kill myself. Everything's fine."
Dauphine Libere prologue results:
1. Iban Mayo (Spa) seven minutes 51 seconds
2. Tyler Hamilton (USA) one second behind
3. Lance Armstrong (USA) +2
4. Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak +3
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step-Davitamon +6
6. Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Phonak +6
7. Cyril Dessel (Fra) Phonak +8
8. Jose-Enrique Guttierez (Spa) Phonak +9
9. Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere +10
10. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank +12