Alexander Kristoff timed his sprint finish to perfection to win the opening stage of the Tour de France in Nice.
After a large group crashed inside the final 3km, Norwegian Kristoff, 33, surged home in a sprint also involving Ireland’s Sam Bennett, who was fourth.
Rain made the roads treacherous and led to several crashes, with Pavel Sivakov of Team Ineos twice coming off.
Ineos’ defending champion Egan Bernal largely avoided the trouble and finished safely in the peloton.
Colombia’s Nairo Quintana crashed, while Astana’s decision to up the pace on the final descent from Levens saw Miguel Angel Lopez slide into a road sign and prompted some stern exchanges towards the team from other riders in the peloton.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe was also caught in a crash, while compatriot Thibaut Pinot – one of the race favourites – fell heavily towards the end and rolled over the line with a ripped jersey.
On Sunday the riders face a 186km mountainous second stage, with two climbs above 1,500m.
Stage one result
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAE-Team Emirates) 3hrs 46mins 23seconds
2. Mads Pedersen (Den/Trek-Segafredo) Same time
3. Cees Bol (Ned/Sunweb)
4. Sam Bennett (Ire/Deceuninck-Quick Step)
5. Peter Sagan (Slo/Bora-Hansgrohe)
6. Elia Viviani (Ita/Cofidis)
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita/NTT)
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra/B&B)
9. Anthony Turgis (Fra/Total Direct Energie)
10. Jasper Stuyen (Bel/Trek-Segafredo)