HOUILLES, France -- French rider Damien Gaudin beat countryman Sylvain Chavanel by one second to win the prologue of the Paris-Nice race on Sunday.
Gaudin sealed the first stage win of his career when he completed the twisting 2.9-kilometre (1.8-mile) prologue around the Paris suburb of Houilles in 3 minutes, 37 seconds.
"It's my first professional victory and this is already my sixth season, and it's on the Paris-Nice as well," Gaudin said. "This kind of race is my speciality, I really liked this prologue. When I won I just went crazy."
Lieuwe Westra of the Netherlands was third, finishing in the same time as the 33-year-old Chavanel, who captured the 72nd podium place of his long career.
On Monday, the race continues with a flat 195-kilometre (120.9 -mile) trek from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Nemours. The race ends next Sunday.
Chavanel and American cyclist Tejay van Garderen are among the race favourites.