Kwiatkowski wins opening prologue at Criterium du Dauphine
VALENCE, France (AP) — Polish cyclist Michal Kwiatkowski narrowly won the opening prologue at the Criterium du Dauphine stage race on Sunday.
A day after celebrating his 28th birthday, the Team Sky rider completed the 6.6-kilometer (4.1-mile) course in the southern city of Valence in seven minutes, 25 seconds.
It was just enough to beat Dutch rider Jos Van Emden by one second and Gianni Moscon — Kwiatkowski’s teammate — by three seconds.
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas crashed taking a right-hand turn and placed 21 seconds behind Kwiatkowski in 43rd place.
Kwiatkowski and Thomas are support riders for Chris Froome at the Tour de France, which starts next month.
Froome recently won the Giro d’Italia, meaning he now holds all three Grand Tour titles along with the Spanish Vuelta.
Froome is not competing at the week-long Dauphine, a habitual pre-Tour warm up.
Stage 1 on Monday is a hilly 179-kilometer (111-mile) trek from Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert.