Tour de France hopeful Jan Ullrich made a solid if unspectacular start to the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday.
Eisel claimed the first stage of the tour which runs until 19 June
The defending champion, who is using the Swiss race as a warm-up to another tilt at cycling's most pretigious prize, finished 28th on stage one.
The German was 16 seconds slower than Austrian Bernhard Eisel, who was first home following a sprint finish.
The Francaise des Jeux rider out-paced Belgian Tom Boonen and compatriot Peter Wrolich to win the 170km-stage.
Olympic road race champion Paolo Bettini finished fourth after sparking the sprint for the line.
Eisel will wear the leader's yellow jersey for the event's only time-trial around Weinfelden on Sunday.
First stage results:
1. Bernhard Eisel (Austria / Francaise des Jeux) 4:00:07"
2. Tom Boonen (Belgium / Quick-Step)
3. Peter Wrolich (Austria / Gerolsteiner)
4. Paolo Bettini (Italy / Quick-Step)
5. Bradley McGee (Australia / Francaise des Jeux)
6. Baden Cooke (Australia / Francaise des Jeux)
7. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland / Fassa Bortolo)
8. Vladimir Gusev (Russia / Team CSC)
9. Aurelien Clerc (Switzerland / Phonak)
10. Rene Haselbacher (Austria / Gerolsteiner)