WEST BERLIN — Nico Verhoeven of the Netherlands won the opening stage of the 74th Tour de France Thursday, but Lech Piasecki of Poland took the overall lead because of a faster time in the prologue.
Piasecki, 25, was the second fastest in Wednesday's individual time trial and finished sixth in Thursday's 63-mile stage. Verhoeven took the stage by edging Giovanni Bottoia of Italy in a close sprint, covering the distance in 2 hours 11.33 minutes.
The first stage was followed by the 24-mile team time trial, which left Piasecki in the overall lead when his Del Tongo-Colnago team finished in the second-best time.
The team trial went to Carrera, and its eight-second victory brought one of the top favorites, Stephen Roche of Ireland, to third place overall.