Alessandro Petacchi of Italy came out on top in a mass sprint finish to win the first stage of the Giro d'Italia.
Petacchi crossed the line just ahead of German rider Olaf Pollack, whose 12-second bonus for coming second puts him at the top of the overall standings.
Italian Crescenzo d'Amore was third in the 143km stage from Genoa to Alba.
The stage was hyped as a sprinting duel between up-and-coming Petacchi and his older compatriot Mario Cipollini but 'Super Mario' could only finish 14th.
"The sprint wasn't easy and I didn't think I was going to win
when I saw (Robbie) McEwen go past with 200 metres to go because he takes a
lot of risks and he is really strong," said Petacchi.
"I've already said that the aim in the Giro is to win three stages," added the 30-year-old, who collected six stages last year.
Cipollini, who was involved in the sprint finish but sat up with 200m to go, was belligerent in defeat.
"I wasn't beaten today, because I decided to give up on the sprint as I was blocked," he said.
"People will just have to wait a little bit longer for me to win a stage."
Stage one results
1. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Fassa Bortolo 3hr 41min 56sec
Olaf Pollack (GER)
3. Crescenzo D'Amore (ITA)
4. Robbie McEwen
5. Marco Zanotti (ITA)
6. Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
8. Luciano Pagliarini (BRA)
9. David Derepas (FRA)
10. Alexandre Usov (BLR) all same time
1. Olaf Pollack (GER) Gerolsteiner 3hr 50min 24sec
McGee (AUS) at 02
3. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) 20
Popovych (UKR) 22
5. Gerhard Trampusch (AUT) 26
D'Amore (ITA) 32
7. Marco Velo (ITA) 34
8. Dario Cioni (ITA) 35
9. Mario Cipollini (ITA) 37
10. Davide Rebellin (ITA) 37