Dutch cycling star Annamiek van Vleuten has broken clear on the brutal Col d'Izoard climb to win the opening stage in La Course.
Van Vleuten crossed the line 43 seconds ahead of Deignan at the top of the famed Alpine climb which will also form the finish of the 18th stage of the Tour de France later on Thursday. "I think perhaps I made a mistake in not having the confidence".
Guarnier finished 45 seconds behind Deignan and the Briton could choose to wait for her team-mate on Saturday's stage to work together to chase down Van Vleuten.
"Megan put her hand up at the start of the day and said she could be leader".
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She will now take an advantage into the second and final stage, a pursuit-style time-trial on the streets of Marseille on Saturday, again taking place just before the corresponding men's time-trial.
Van Vleuten returned to racing this year after recovering from a horrific crash while leading the women's road race in the 2016 Rio Olympics, when she suffered severe concussion and three small fractures in her back.
"I think it's really positive that we have a mountain top finish", added Deignan.
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