By Alasdair Fotheringham
SAINT VALLIER, France (Reuters) - Tour de France contender Bradley Wiggins took the overall lead in the Criterium du Dauphine on Monday but was exasperated by suggestions he may have peaked too early ahead of next month's big race.
The Briton, winner of this year's Paris-Nice race and Tour of Romandie, finished second in the opening prologue before moving into the lead after Monday's stage won by Australian Cadel Evans.
When asked by reporters if he was worried he had found top form too early with the Tour de France still four weeks away, the 32-year-old Wiggins said: "I can never win whatever I do.
"If I didn't take the jersey or perform here then I'm the biggest piece of rubbish out there but if I win here I've peaked too soon."
Asked about 2011 Tour winner Evans's blistering attack in the final kilometres on Monday, Wiggins said: "I knew Cadel was always going to be good so there's no surprise there".
Another Tour contender, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, struggled for form on stage one as he lost more than three minutes on the last climb.
"Andy always turns it on for the Tour so I wouldn't put too much store by that," added Wiggins. "No disrespect to the Dauphine but the big one is in July."
(Editing by Alison Wildey and Tony Jimenez)