Peter Kennaugh led Team Sky home in 10th place on stage one of the Brixia Tour after a two-man break surprised the bunch.
The 22–year-old finished at the sharp end of a bunch that came home two minutes and three seconds down on stage winner Marco Frapporti (Colnago-CSF).
The Italian combined to great effect with compatriot Fortunato Baliani (d’Angelo & Antenucci) to out-fox the bunch and arrive into Edolo with an advantage of 1:46 over anyone else.
At the finish local boy Frapporti out-sprinted Baliani to put a second between the two riders and take an early race lead after an epic break that had lasted 110km.
The plucky duo escaped early on during a circuit that contained the Zoanno Chiesa climb and would not be seen again by a baffled peloton.
Kennaugh snatched a top-10 on a tougher-than-expected day with team-mates Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Morris Possoni and Chris Froome all finishing in the same group of a peloton that fractured to pieces over the 158km route.
The race now moves into a double-header on Friday with a compact morning stage followed by a 10.4km time trial in Brescia.
After the stage Sports Director Nicolas Portal was happy with the start the team had made with a number of riders in great form in Italy.
He said: “For the team it has been a good day. On the profile of the stage we could see there were a lot of climbs but it did not look too bad. But in Italy it is always hard.
“It was not a normal stage for a first day in a stage race. Normally we have a sprint but today was the first day for the GC.
“After two loops of the circuit at the start there were 40 riders away in a group with big riders for the GC. For us we had the perfect guys with Morris Possoni, Lars-Petter, Pete and Froomey.
“Then there were two riders who went away further and they stayed until the end. We had four strong riders in there. Froomey was on the front and very strong all day. There was a great team spirit.
“Lars-Petter also did a great job following some breakaways on the final climb. But for all the guys on GC it is good because tomorrow we have a 10km TT in the afternoon.”
As attention turns to the double-header tomorrow, Portal was in confident mood that the team can compete on all fronts, adding: “I think we have good options for the GC with these four riders, and also for the sprints we have Davide and CJ. Tomorrow morning we will look at something for them, depending on the speed up the climb.”