Chris Froome enjoyed a safe passage through stage one of the UAE Tour on his return to competitive cycling.
The four-time Tour de France winner was back racing for the first time since breaking his leg at the Criterium du Dauphine in June last year.
“It feels good to be a bike racer again,” said Froome, 34, after coming home in the peloton on a day set up for the sprinters.
The 148km opening stage in Dubai was won by German Pascal Ackermann.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider finished ahead of Caleb Ewan of Australia and Frenchman Rudy Barbier.
“All of the big names are here. I wasn’t sure if my form was good enough but it proved to be,” said Ackermann, the points winner at last year’s Giro d’Italia.
Ackermann claimed a 10-second time bonus for winning and leads Ewan by four seconds overall, with Serbia’s Veljko Stojnic a second further back in third after taking a five-second bonus for winning the intermediate sprint.
UAE Tour – Stage 1 result
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger/BORA-Hansgrohe) 3hrs 29mins 19secs
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto-Soudal) same time
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra/Israel Start-Up Nation)
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Team Jumbo-Visma)
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo/Mitchelton-Scott)
6. Alberto Dainese (Ita/Team Sunweb)
7. Jakub Mareczko (Ita/CCC Team)
8. Max Walscheid (Ger/NTT Pro Cycling Team)
9. Jose Joaquín Rojas (Spa/Movistar Team)
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita/AG2R La Mondiale)
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) 3hrs 29 mins 19 secs
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Lotto Soudal) + 4 secs
3. Veljko Stojnic (Ser/Vini Zabu KTM) +5 secs
4. Rudy Barbier (Fra/Israel Start-Up Nation) + 6 secs
5. Leonardo Tortomasi (Ita/Vini Zabu KTM) same time
6. Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus/Gazprom-Rusvelo) +7 secs
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned/Team Jumbo-Visma) +10 secs
8. Luka Mezgec (Slo/Mitchelton-Scott) same time
9. Alberto Dainese (Ita/Team Sunweb) same time
10. Jakub Mareczko (Ita/CCC Team) same time