Irish pro Nicolas Roche has bounced back from a disappointing 105th place in the recent Paris-Nice prologue to take an excellent ninth on today's short opener in the Volta a Catalunya.

The Ag2r La Mondiale rider showed great improvement in the 3.6 kilometre race against the clock, finishing ahead of many of the other major contenders for the race.

German rider Paul Voss (Team Milram) was quickest in the test at Lloret de Mar, beating Team RadioShack riders Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden by one and two seconds respectively.

Roche finished six seconds back, and will be greatly encouraged by his performance.

This display proves that the Irish road race champion can become a time trial contender, something which previously was a slightly weaker point in his armoury when in the top pro events.

The ProTour race continues tomorrow with a hilly 182.6 kilometre stage from Salt to Banyoles.