Sergio Henao came within inches of victory on the opening stage as the Vuelta a Burgos got under way.
The Colombian left it late on a tough uphill finish to Complejo Karstico Ojo Guarena but was edged out by Daniel Moreno (Katusha) in a photo finish.
Matti Breschel (Rabobank) rounded out the podium places after a frantic finish which saw the British national champion Ian Stannard come close to a solo victory.
The Team Sky man made his way into an early 17-man break and powered clear in the closing stages, holding off a surging peloton before the terrain ramped up following the flamme rouge.
Moreno moved into the race lead as a result but sits level on time with Henao moving into stage two on Thursday.
The first of five stages saw 135 kilometres on the menu as the peloton headed out of Miranda de Embro.
Attacks began inside the first 20km and when the dust settled a 17-man break had formed, three of which represented Team Sky with Stannard joined up the road by Juan Antonio Flecha and Danny Pate.
Rabobank set about chasing it down and as the stage wore on the break eventually split, 11 riders continuing onwards.
The pace ramped up and a number of the break caught, but not before a burst of pace from Stannard had split the remainder of the group in half and the Brit finally powered on solo.
Fresh from the Olympic road race on Saturday, Stannard built up an advantage of 40 seconds as he headed under the 10km to go banner.
But it was not to be and the peloton arrived on cue to set up a thrilling dash up to the finish which Moreno made his own.
After the stage we caught up with Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist who was happy to see the team start the race on the front foot.
“It was a perfect scenario for us," he said. "We wanted to make sure we were happy with the morning break but we ended up with three guys in the group. It shows that the riders are switched on and ready to race which is good to see.
“The team rode really well on what was a hard day for everybody. It was a short stage but it was up and down so not easy.
“It looked really good for Ian towards the end but with the uphill finish the peloton ate the seconds out of him. Then the guys set it up for Sergio and he was really close on the line. We will try again tomorrow but we have got off to a good start.”