Tour de France 2015: Rohan Dennis wins Utrecht Grand Depart

By Patrick JenningsBBC Sport
Rohan Dennis
Rohan Dennis beat Chris Boardman's previous record of an average speed of 55.152 km/h set in 1994

Rohan Dennis rode the fastest individual time trial in Tour de France history to claim victory at the opening stage of this year's race in Utrecht.

The Australian rode 13.8km in 14 minutes and 56 seconds at an average speed of 55.446 km/h, with German Tony Martin five seconds behind in second.

"To wear the Tour de France yellow jersey, it's a dream," Dennis said.

Team Sky's Chris Froome was 50 seconds back as Steve Cummings placed highest of 10 British riders in 10th.

Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali was the best performer among Froome's fellow contenders for overall victory at the 21-stage race, which ends in Paris on 26 July,

Chris Froome on Twitter
Froome finished seven seconds behind defending champion Vincenzo Nibali in Utrecht

Astana's Italian rider finished 22nd, seven seconds ahead of 2013 winner Froome, 15 seconds clear of Spaniard Alberto Contador and 18 seconds ahead of Colombia's Nairo Quintana.

"It's the longer efforts I've been training for and I'm happy to have that out the way," said Froome.

British former Olympic champion Chris Boardman set the previous fastest individual average speed over a Tour de France stage with 55.152 km/h at the 7.2km prologue of 1994.

"Everything went perfectly," said Dennis, who will wear the leader's yellow jersey for the start of stage two on Sunday - a 166km ride along the Dutch coast that is likely to end in a bunch sprint.

"We went with the tactic of going out early and setting a benchmark and making everyone chase me," the 25-year-old BMC rider added on ITV4.

Rob Hayles - BBC Radio 5 live commentator
"It's been an incredible stage today. All the talk should be about Rohan Dennis. Five seconds ahead of Tony Martin? It's fantastic. Aside from that it's about the GC riders and they are all there or thereabouts within a few seconds of each other."
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Dennis's Swiss team-mate Fabian Cancellara came third with a time of 15 minutes and two seconds, while Britons Geraint Thomas of Team Sky and Alex Dowsett of Movistar came 12th and 13th respectively.

Cummings, 34, last rode the Tour in 2012 and this year is competing for Team MTN-Qhubeka, the first African-based team to tackle cycling's most prestigious race.

Meanwhile, Astana's Lars Boom completed the stage despite suggestions he should be withdrawn for failing a test for low cortisol levels, which can indicate abuse of cortisone.

Geraint Thomas's stage-by-stage guide
Stage two: Utrecht - Zelande, 166km (103.14 miles)
"This will probably be the most stressful day of the whole year's racing. It's along the coast and if there are a lot of crosswinds, that could split the race into groups."
Team Sky's Geraint Thomas's analysis of all 21 stages of this year's Tour de France.

Stage 1 result and general classification

1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 14mins 56secs

2 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step +5secs

3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing +6secs

4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin +8secs

5 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo +15secs

6 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team a +23secs

7 Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at same time

8 Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team +29secs

9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo +30secs

10 Stephen Cummings (Gbr) MTN - Qhubeka +32secs

Selected others:

12 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky +33secs

13 Alex Dowsett (Gbr) Movistar Team +36secs

22 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana +43secs

33 Simon Yates (Gbr) Orica GreenEdge +46secs

39 Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team Sky +50secs

46 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff +58

57 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar +1min 1sec

68 Peter Kennaugh (Gbr) Team Sky +1min 08secs

74 Ian Stannard (Gbr) Team Sky +1min 11secs

97 Adam Yates (Gbr) Orica GreenEdge +1min 18secs

123 Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Etixx - Quick-Step +1min 26secs

180 Luke Rowe (Gbr) Team Sky +1min 54secs

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