Mark Cavendish claimed the maglia rosa with a storming sprint finish in the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia in Naples.
Former world champion Cavendish, in his first Grand Tour with new team Omega Pharma-Quickstep, delivered even when his lead-out faltered to claim his 11th career win in the race.
"It was a difficult, difficult stage for me," admitted Cavendish, who wears the leader's jersey for the third time in his career.
"It was not easy with all the corners but the team did incredible to stay at the front. We didn't get it quite right at the end and Gert Steegmans had a mechanical in the final kilo which we need to look at.
"They are costing us too many races. It was really, really hot out there but I wanted it so bad."
Britain's Adam Blythe finished a creditable seventh while Sir Bradley Wiggins, who is hoping to become the first-ever British winner of the race in three weeks time, finished 18 seconds behind in the safety of the peleton.
Canadian defending champion Ryder Hesjedal and fellow favourite and home hope Vincenzo Nibali also finished without fuss.
But crashes meant British riders Alex Dowsett and David Millar were both left battered and bruised following the 130km first stage, although both finished and will line up for the start of Sunday's second stage - a 17.4km team time trial between Ischia and Forio.
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