Ian Stannard was the first Team Sky rider home as stage one of the Tour de Pologne ended in a bunch sprint in Warsaw.
The Brit was in the mix on the long drag to the line and placed 18th after a hectic finish that saw Marcel Kittel take victory.
Arriving in Poland with a team that has designs on the overall classification and the numerous undulating stages throughout the seven-day race, the opening test was an important obstacle to negotiate without trouble.
At the finish Kittel benefitted from the good work of his Skil-Shimano team-mates in the closing kilometres to win by a comfortable margin and move into the overall lead by four seconds.
The 23-year-old held off the attentions of Alexander Kristoff (BMC) and Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step) to win by a bike-length to take his ninth victory of the season.
Victory in the Polish capital sees Kittel become the first recipient of the leader’s yellow jersey to add to the rider’s first victory in WorldTour competition.
A short 101.5km blast was the order of the day with the sprinters expected to come to the fore as the stage race got under way.
It was no surprise to see a six-man break move clear in the early going with Rabobank and Skil-Shimano among the interested sprinters’ teams helping with the pace-setting in the bunch.
The motivated group worked together well to build up a decent margin as the race moved on to the day’s finishing circuit, yet inevitably the gap was slowly whittled down during eight laps of the 8.1km course around Warsaw.
At the end of lap five Arkimedes Arguelyes (Katusha) tried to escape the attentions of his breakaway partners to soak up sprint points while in the bunch there was a crash as the peloton briefly ran out of room on the barrier-lined circuit.
With the break caught on the penultimate lap just metres from the sprint point Polish rider Michal Golas (Vacansoleil) ducked out to take the day’s only mountain points and claim the pink jersey.
On the run to the line a number of riders kicked too early and it was left to Kittel to demonstrate a calm head on young shoulders to take the win.
After the stage Sports Director Sean Yates explained that he believes the race will be one of two halves with a number of objectives lying ahead in the coming days.
He said: “It was just a matter of staying out of trouble today. It wasn’t the most spectacular of stages but it was always going to be a bunch sprint today.
“We have got some good possibilities for results later on in the race but today was an out-and-out sprinters day. There was never going to be a chance for a breakaway or anything like that.
“The first three stages are pretty much nailed on bunch sprints. Skil-Shimano won the stage today. It’s a WorldTour race and they will ride to defend that jersey.
“As the race goes on hopefully we will be more in the mix. Like I say we’ve got some riders who can go well here.”