Primoz Roglic edged Tour de France holder Egan Bernal in a tight finish to clinch the second stage of the Tour de l'Ain on Saturday exactly three weeks ahead of the start of this year's 'Grand Boucle'.
Jumbo-Visma's Roglic, who won last year's Vuelta a Espana, also took the overall leader's jersey to press home his claims for the Tour which begins on August 29.
Roglic paid tribute to his team-mates including Steven Kruijswijk, George Bennett and Tom Dumoulin, who all finished within the top 25.
"It was a perfect day. The whole team did a really great job and I was super happy that I could finish it off," Roglic said.
"It was definitely nice to see that other guys are also strong. We are here to find the right feelings and we are concentrating on that," the 30-year-old added.
UAE Team Emirates' Valerio Conti finished third with Bernal's Ineos team-mate, and 2018 Tour winner, Geraint Thomas more than four minutes behind Slovenian Roglic.
Ineos' Chris Froome, who clinched the last of his four Tour titles in 2017 and will join Israel Start-Up Nation next season, trailed Roglic by 12 minutes.
Another of Roglic's fellow Visma riders Dylan Groenewegen has been suspended by the Dutch outfit pending a UCI investigation into Wednesday's crash at the Tour of Polond which hospitalised Fabio Jakobsen.
Jakobsen awoke from a medically-induced coma on Friday after serious injuries in the 80 kilometres (50 miles) an hour collision.
Sunday's 145km final day in the Ain region ends at an altitude of 1,500m at the Col du Grand Colombier and is an almost exact copy of the 15th stage of this year's Tour.
Tour de l'Ain second stage results on Saturday between Lagnieu and Lelex:
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/JUM) 3hrs 58mins 14secs, 2. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) same time, 3. Valerio Conti (ITA/UAE) s.t, 4. Nairo Quintana (COL/ARK) s.t, 5. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/JUM) at 7secs, 6. Jesus Herrada (ESP/COF) at 15, 7. Fabio Aru (ITA/UAE) at 16, 8. Joao Almeida (POR/DEC) s.t, 9. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/INE) at 20, 10. Jan Hirt (CZE/CCC) s.t,
23. Tom Dumoulin (NED/JUM) 4mins 51secs, 25. Geraint Thomas (GBR/INE) s.t, 55. Richie Porte (AUS/TRE) 12mins 17secs, 56. Chris Froome (GBR/INE) s.t.
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/JUM) 7hours 14mins 58sec, 2. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) at 10secs, 3. Valerio Conti (ITA/UAE) at 12, 4. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) at 16, 5. Nairo Quintana (COL/ARK) s.t, 6. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/JUM) at 23, 7. Jesus Herrada (ESP/COF) at 31, 8. Joao Almeida (POR/DEC) at 32, 9. Fabio Aru (ITA/UAE) s.t, 10. Jan Hirt (CZE/CCC) at 36.
19. Tom Dumoulin (NED/JUM) 5min 07secs, 20. Geraint Thomas (GBR/INE) s.t, 55. Richie Porte (AUS/TRE) 13mins 49secs, 57. Chris Froome (GBR/INE) 14 mins 19secs