Team Sky's Chris Sutton was 14th behind Egidijus Juodvalkis (Landbouwkrediet) on the opening stage of the Tour de Picardie.
The three-day race proved a happy hunting ground for Team Sky last year, with Ben Swift taking the overall title, and this year's renewal marked the return to action of Edvald Boasson Hagen following his nasty crash at Scheldeprijs.
He was to the fore towards the end of the 162-kilometre route from Abbeville to La Neuville-en-Hez, with the young Norwegian and teammate Juan Antonio Flecha both launching attacks off the front.
However it was Lithuanian Juodvalkis who proved strongest on the 2.5km drag up the Cote de la Neuville-en-Hezand and he crossed the line a second in front of the pack to claim his first victory for his team.
Kenny Dehaes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) was second, with Martin Elmiger (AG2R) in third. Also in that front bunch of 38 riders were Team Sky trio Sutton, Christian Knees (29th) and Serge Pauwels (30th).
Afterwards Sports Director Steven de Jongh was delighted to report Boasson Hagen, who crossed the line 12 seconds back, showed no ill effects from his Scheldeprijs crash.
De Jongh said: "Edvald did a good effort and is going really well on what's his first race back. It's great news that he's recovered so well and I think we can be really happy with his performance here so far.
"We had a plan for the final but we possibly attacked a little bit early. We've only got a small team of six here (Steve Cummings was ruled out through illness) but they worked well together and did okay."
Looking ahead to Saturday's second stage, de Jongh added: "You'd expect a bunch sprint but we'll see how it pans out before deciding on what we do at the finish. It may be that it's Edvald who goes for the sprint this time but it all depends on how the guys are going."