Germany's Greipel did well to recover from a late puncture
Germany's Andre Greipel won Saturday's opening stage of the Tour of Britain with victory in a rain-soaked ride from Rochdale to Blackpool.
The HTC-Columbia rider came home ahead of Manuel Belletti and Greg Henderson, having recovered well after suffering a puncture eight kilometres from the end.
"It's always something special to win the first stage because you get the leader's jersey as well," said Greipel.
"This was our main goal to win the stage and we achieved it."
A three-man breakaway of Richie Porte, Wout Poels and Jack Bauer set the early pace, before the peloton - containing many riders from HTC-Columbia and Team Sky - closed the gap as the route flattened out on the Fylde coast.
With 25 km to go Porte tried to go it alone, but his 45 second advantage was quickly eaten up by the rest of the field.
On the outskirts of Blackpool the sprinters began to move up to the front, with the riders of Skil-Shimano, HTC and Sky keeping up a high tempo to prevent any last-ditch breakaways.
Sprinter Griepel's team-mates did a superb job to keep his hopes alive when he had his puncture, with Tony Martin and Mark Renshaw doing much of the work.
Poels earned the King of the Mountains jersey, while Porte takes the sprints jersey, after being first over the line at Stalmine and Cockerham.
Henderson and fourth-placed Russell Downing were the best-performing Team Sky riders, with Geraint Thomas 42nd and Bradley Wiggins 50th.
The best-placed non-Sky British riders were Ed Clancy in 11th place, and Andrew Tennant in 14th.
Sunday's second stage sees the action starting and finishing at Stoke, with a 160.8km stage around Staffordshire.
The route's climbs include Ramshorn, Hollinsclough Moor and Gun Hill.
Tour of Britain stage one result:
1 A Greipel Team HTC-Columbia 3:16:48
2 M Belletti Colnago-CSF Inox @ same time
3 G Henderson Sky Pro Cycling Team @ same time
4 A Rasmussen Team Saxo Bank @ same time
5 M Reimer Cervelo Test Team @ same time
6 R Wagner Skil-Shimano @ same time
7 G Brambilla Colnago-CSF Inox @ same time
8 E Clancy Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta @ same time
9 R Downing Sky Pro Cycling Team @ same time
10 M van Stayen Topsport Vlaanderen @ same time