Australian Simon Gerrans pulled on the leader’s pink jersey as his Orica outfit won Saturday’s team time-trial, the first stage of the Giro d’Italia.
The 34-year-old from Melbourne proved he was back in form after missing this season’s classics after breaking his collarbone and arm in falls during training in December.
The Tinkoff team of Spaniard Alberto Contador, the 2008 winner, were second after the 17.6km time-trial at San Remo.
Contador, 32, achieved the best result of the race favourites taking six seconds on Italy’s Fabio Aru, who was third with the Astana team.
It is the first pink jersey for Gerrans in the city where he achieved one of his biggest wins in the 2012 Milan-San Remo classic.
Gerrans, who wore the Tour de France yellow jersey for two days in 2013, also won a stage in his only previous appearance in the Italian stage race in 2009.
The winning team clocked 19min 26sec with their team including four Australian riders in Gerrans, Michael Matthews, Michael Hepburn and Simon Clarke, Dutchman Pieter Weening and Colombian climber Esteban Chaves.
The Tinkoff team were at 07sec and Astana 13sec off the pace.
Orica also won the first stage last year in Belfast with five riders from their current team – Matthews, Hepburn, Lancaster, Weening and Durbridge.
Sunday’s second stage over 177km between Albenga and Genoa should favour the sprinters.
Standings after Saturday’s first stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 17.6km team time-trial at San Remo:
1. Orica 19min 26sec (average: 54.339 km/h), 2. Tinkoff at 07sec, 3. Astana 13, 4. Etixx 19, 5. Movistar 21, 6. IAM 25, 7. BMC 25, 8. FDJ 26, 9. Sky 27, 10. Katusha 27, 11. Trek 29, 12. Lotto 31, 13. Lotto NL 36, 14. Bardiani 37, 15. CCC 45, 16. AG2R La Mondiale 48, 17. Giant 49, 18. Southeast 52, 19. Cannondale 53, 20. Nippo 57, 21. Lampre 59, 22. Androni 1:03
– Agence France-Presse