Erick Rowsell led the charge for the Brits on stage one of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, although he admitted the chaotic racing played into his hands.
The 24-year-old Madison-Genesis rider crossed the line in 4.23:48 hours to finish eighth, 1:10 minutes behind Team Sky’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug who became the first person to claim the Blue jersey.
All eyes were on Ben Swift, who, on a rare opportunity to lead Team Sky, was forced to abandon the race with 50km remaining after going down in slippery conditions.
Meanwhile, Sir Bradley Wiggins finished just under 15 minutes off the pace, having elected to ride conservatively with his attempt on the hour record scheduled for June.
And Rowsell - brother of Olympic champion Joanna - was thrilled to be in a prime position heading into the second day’s racing.
“It was an unusual race,” he said. “There was a lot of carnage out there but that kind of race suits me quite well.
“I enjoy racing like that so it’s nice for me to be able to get stuck in. The turning point today was obviously on that twisting descent where a few riders went off.
“That was quite a big crash and a number of the big hitters came down. That caused some carnage and the racing was a bit all over the place from then on.”
Following the huge success of 2014’s Yorkshire Grand Dèpart, which was watched at the roadside by crowds of over four million people, the Tour de Yorkshire’s inaugural event began at the seaside town of Bridlington.
The 174km stage featured five climbs and two sprints, as the riders made their way through the North York Moors and spectacular coastal scenery to finish in Scarborough.
There were promising performances from Stephen Cummings and Russell Downing, both of whom claimed top-20 spots.
But Welshman Scott Davies was the highest place finisher for a youthful GB team, crossing the line 1:13 off the pace, and the 19-year-old was beaming after one of his most promising performances to date.
Davies said: “I’d say it’s probably one of the most pleasing races of my career so far to be honest.
“I wasn’t sure where I stood in terms of form coming in as I’ve had an illness over the past week, so it was a little bit unknown in that sense, but it’s a nice little confidence boost.
“I didn’t expect to be in that position in the end and I certainly would have grabbed that performance at the start of the race.
“I’ll try and hold on to it over the next few days, try and recover as much as I can tomorrow and then go for a good ride on Sunday – I’ll be pleased with that.
“These events are really important for us, it’s not often we get a chance to ride with the World Tour Pros around you, so it’s a big learning experience for us.
“That’s the best crowd I’ve raced with as well, it’s a bit surreal to be honest – riding through all the villages, everyone seemed to be out and that’s pretty cool.
“We’re not used to it as such, at under-23 races you don’t get the crowds like this so we’ll make the most of it.”
© Sportsbeat 2015