Team Sky's Davide Appollonio is sixth overall after the opening stage of the Tour of Qatar which was won by Tom Boonen.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Boonen launched an early sprint at the end of the 142.5 kilometres route from Barzan Towers to the College of the North Atlantic and had enough in reserve to repel all challengers.
Adam Blythe (BMC Racing) was second, with Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in third.
Appollonio crossed the line in eighth but is sixth on the general classification having earlier collected a couple of bonus seconds when he chased home Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) in the second intermediate sprint.
Team Sky had looked to tee up Appollonio at the finish as world champion Mark Cavendish continued to recover from his recent bout of illness on what was his debut for the team.
Cavendish had fallen ill on his flight to Doha on Friday night but was able to start the race and came home safely in the main bunch.
Hansen's early move
A tailwind made the task for all the riders easier than it might have been and a relatively straightforward day saw Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) break clear of the pack after just 3km before opening up a maximum lead of six minutes and 40 seconds.
The conditions meant he was never going to maintain that advantage and after taking the first intermediate sprint he was reeled in by the peloton.
Heading into the final 20km the field was all together and Michael Barry helped Team Sky drive it on the front, with Lotto-Belisol also prominent.
Team Sky, for whom Bernhard Eisel was also having his first race, massed on the front approaching the final kilometre but when Boonen burst clear the field was already strung out and he powered ahead in the final 50 yards, crossing the line around three bike lengths in front to move into the leader's gold jersey.
Team Sky rider Ian Stannard told us shortly after the finish: "Having one man off the front on his own was pretty good because it meant that there wasn’t much of a fight to get in the break from the other teams once it had gone, and also meant the chase was easier.
"We worked well together as a unit going into the last 30km or so but fair play to Tom Boonen for getting his win. He’s always super strong here and he’s looking in good form."
Team time trial next up
Team Sky Sports Director Steven de Jongh was happy to report that Cavendish had got through the stage without any problems, saying: "Everything went okay today and when the winds first whipped up it was good to see that we had five guys towards the front, and again at the finish there.
"Cav was not too far back either and he actually had a pretty good day. He was helping out his team-mates during the race, which was a pleasant surprise because we’d told him he didn’t have to do anything if he didn’t feel he was up to it after his illness.
"Our only goal for him was that he finished the stage today, and he did that comfortably."
Monday's second stage is an 11.3km team time trial on the Losail motor racing circuit and de Jongh added: "We’ve done plenty of training for this in Majorca and the guys have a good understanding between them. We came out here on Saturday to recce the course as well so we know what to expect on the route."