Chris Sutton led Team Sky home in sixth place as the Tour Down Under kicked off with a sweltering stage one in Clare.
Sutton was among a select band of riders who made it through a large crash heading into the final kilometre and the fast downhill run to the finish.
With a number of the peloton hitting the deck the road was temporarily blocked, holding up a host of sprint contenders in the process following a touch of wheels moments after the flamme rouge.
On the line it was Andre Greipel who continued his strong start to the season with victory on the stage to move into an early race lead.
The Lotto-Belisol rider edged out Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) in a photo finish into a headwind with Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-BigMat) popping up to round out the podium. Team Sky lead the team's classification after stage one.
The peloton were met with sweltering conditions which made life difficult for the riders but a sprint finish always looked likely as the season kicked off.
The season officially kicked off in Propsect as the flag dropped on the 149-kilometre test and the first chance for teams to score WorldTour points.
It didn’t take long for the first attack of the race with Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) bridging across to join Rohan Dennis (Uni-SA), Martin Kohler (BMC) and Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil) after just 6km.
The quartet made haste despite the searing heat, building up a gap which topped out at 11 minutes and 40 seconds before a reaction came from the peloton.
Strong warm winds and temperatures hovering around 35 degrees made life difficult for a peloton which were unsurprisingly running behind schedule as hydration became the most important aspect of the day.
In their world debut the GreenEDGE squad took up the mantle on the front with help from Team Sky as the gap began to tumble on the run into Clare.
Life was made all the more difficult for the teams and riders with race radio down due to wind, none of which stopped Dennis attacking his breakaway companions and heading solo into the final 15km.
Despite the downhill run for home a block headwind saw Dennis reeled in and the inevitable bunch kick which saw Greipel and the Lotto-Belisol squad justify their tag as favourites heading into the stage.
After the finish Sports Director Sean Yates admitted the stage had been a tough ordeal but was relieved to see the Team Sky riders emerge unscathed from the crash.
He said: “It was very hot out there and pretty tough with the headwind. Having that four-man break go away was the perfect situation for us because we wanted the sprint and knew it would eventually come back together.
“It was just a question of surviving as best we could in the conditions.
“Everyone shared responsibility on the front because no one team wanted to overcook it and Danny and Alex both did their bit. The break came back with about 10km to go and we put CJ in the right place but unfortunately the others came around him. The crash disrupted things as well and hopefully no one was seriously hurt."
We also caught up with Michael Rogers who underlined just what a factor the conditions had been, explaining: "The strong headwinds nullified most of the stage and the bunch wasn’t really too concerned when that break went away early on.
"In the heat as well it was pretty hard going out there but the bunch kept a fairly consistent pace and brought them back on their own.
"We sent Alex and Danny up there to help with the chase and they both did a really good job, with the gap coming down pretty quickly towards the end and it was all together with around 10k to go.
"Their work had allowed the rest of us to sit back and relax ahead of the sprint but that big crash with about 800 metres to go ended the day for a lot of the sprinters.
"A lot of guys came down but we were all okay and we’ll be good to go again for stage two tomorrow."
Viewers can see 30-minute highlights on January 17 at 1830 (Sky Sports 4), 2130 (SS2), January 18 at 0000 (SS4), 0900 (SS2) and 1430 (SS3). The highlights are also available on Sky Go.