The final pre-Vuelta a Espana tune-up, the Eneco Tour, is underway but any riders hoping to ease into the race were given a reminder of cycling’s unforgiving nature.
Driving rain, crosswinds and a run-in laden with roundabouts and road furniture contributed to a chaotic, crash-laden final sprint,
which was eventually won by Andrea Guardini (Astana).
Guardini took the leader’s jersey as a solo attack by Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) fell agonisingly short of prevailing.
Relive the action through the lens of UCI WorldTour photographer Stefano Sirotti in the full-width photo gallery below.
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The peloton rolled out for a flat stage one but the conditions made for a testing day (pic: Sirotti)
G for Gold
Commonwealth Games gold medallist is one of a number of big-names on the start list as he targets stage race success (pic: Sirotti)
Steve Cummings is in action again, looking to prove his fitness with Vuelta a Espana spots up for grabs (pic: Sirotti)
A three-man break went clear but was quickly brought into check by the sprint teams (pic: Sirotti)
Christian Knees (Team Sky) was active on the front of the bunch all day, splitting it with his furious pace on the front (pic: Sirotti)
Gert Steegmans was one of several riders to crash during a chaotic final five kilometres (pic: Sirotti)
Winner takes it all
Andrea Guardini celebrates his sprint success (pic: Sirotti)
...and could not hide his delight at the result post-stage (pic: Sirotti)
Congratulations and celebrations
Guardini takes the applause of the crowd as he celebrates his stage win... (pic: Sirotti)
Leading the way
...and takes the first leader's jersey of this year's race (pic: Sirotti)