France's Damien Gaudin cycles to wins the prologue of Paris-Nice.
France's Damien Gaudin cycles to wins the prologue of Paris-Nice.
Lionel Cironneau/AP

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 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 specialty, 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 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 favorites.

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