Switzerland's Alexandre Moos has come a close second in the prologue of the Tour de Romandie in Geneva, beaten only by Rik Verbrugghe.
For nearly two hours on Tuesday, Moos thought he would be the first Swiss to win the prologue since Robert Dill-Bundi 19 years ago. But the Belgian finally proved himself to be the fastest over the 3.2-kilometre winding course, taking just four minutes and 14 seconds to complete his run through Geneva's old city.
Moos finished 1.45 seconds behind Verbrugghe. "The course was the way I like them," said the Swiss racer.
"I spent a lot of time checking it out to ride it like a cyclocross course. The trick was to brake as late as possible before tackling a corner."
Verbrugghe, leader of the Lotto team, won the prologue of the Giro d'Italia last year, but despite his past success, he was surprised by his win. "I thought the course was too short and too twisty for me," he said.
The Belgian had come to prepare the Giro, but his victory has changed his plans. "The Tour de Romandie is a prestigious race, you can't take it lightly," said Verbrugghe.
Phonak will not let him take over the race though. With Moos second and Martin Elmiger lurking in third place, the Swiss-based team will be already thinking about an overall victory.
The next stage, the longest on the programme, covers 187 kilometres to Mallerey/Bévilard. The race then moves through to Charmey, Charmey to Sierre and Sierre to Leysin - the tour's big mountain test. The finale is an 18.3km race against the clock in Lausanne on Sunday.
The event has a long history, starting with its inauguration at the end of the Second World War. Former winners include famous cycling names such as Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx.
This year's course has been designed by former Swiss star Tony Rominger (who won the event in 1991 and 1995) and Armin Meier.
The last Swiss to win the tour was Pascal Dufaux in 1998.
swissinfo with agencies