Edvald Boasson Hagen outsprinted Belgian duo Philippe Gilbert and Wout van Aert to win the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné from Aurillac to Jussac in France.
The Norwegian Dimension Data rider found his acceleration at the right time to take the first yellow jersey of the race.
Boasson Hagen was delighted to get the victory, his fifth career stage win at the Critérium.
"I was suffering a lot in the last two climbs but I got a good speed in the sprint," he said.
"It’s been a long time since I last won [at the Dauphiné in 2016].
"My form is starting to come and I hope there are more victories to arrive for me and for Dimension Data."
Six riders made a break at the 10km mark and built an advantage of 3min 20sec at the foot of the stage's first hill, the category one Puy Mary,
Team Sunweb rider Casper Pedersen led the riders over the summit and was still in pole position after cresting the category four Côte de Besse and category three Côte de St-Cernin climbs.
Julien Vermote was the first rider dropped as Pedersen secured the maiden polka dot jersey of the race on the first climb up the Côte de Roquenatou.
With 25km to go, the Deceunick-Quick Step took over the peleton lead from Bora-Hansgrohe and reduced to 1.15 the gap as they made a second ascent to Roquenatou.
Zdenek Stybar put the hammer down with team mate Julian Alaphilippe on his wheel but it was Lotto-Soudal's Bjorg Lambrecht who moved clear of the peleton.
Just Oliver Naesen from the AG2R-La Mondiale team and Astana rider Magnus Cort remained in the lead towards the top of the hill.
Lambrecht crested in first position as Bora-Hansgrohe's Gregor Mühlberger slotted in between the lead trio and the peleton led by Mitchelton-Scott.
Alaphilippe sped up to lead Gilbert out as the peleton came back together with 600 metres to go but Boasson Hagen accelerated past the Belgian to clinch the stage.
Gilbert crossed the line second, ahead of compatriot van Aert as pre-race favourites Chris Froome and Jakob Fuglsang finished in the pack.
Stage two will see riders take on the 180km route from Mauriac to Craponne-sur-Arzon.
The stage incorporates three category two climbs, including the Côte de Saint-Victor sur Arlanc climb just 18km from the finish.