The world champion beat Caleb Ewan in the opening sprint finish to take the overall lead

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the opening stage of the Tour of Poland in a dominant sprint finish ahead of Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott).

Behind them, Team Sky’s Danny Van Poppel edged out Riccardo Minali (Astana) for third.

The main contenders for the general classification, including Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), finished safely in the peloton.

Riding in his first race since being controversially kicked off the Tour de France earlier this month for dangerous sprinting, a newly shaven-headed world champion still looked in great shape as he defeated Ewan by half a bike-length.

Sagan will therefore tomorrow swap his rainbow stripes for the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

A wide finishing straight in the city of Krakow provided plenty of room for competing teams to organise their own trains, but ultimately it was a few riders from Gazprom-RusVelo that controlled the front of the race.

Without a lead-out man, Sagan emerged from behind these riders to kick to the front and fend off all other challenges.

Despite the wide roads, a crash took out a few riders in the finale that took out around half a dozen riders.

No rider appeared to be seriously hurt, and no GC contenders appeared to be caught up.

The pace in the peloton as the finish neared was high, but not high enough to deter some attacks. With 3km to go Daniel Oss (BMC) made a move which lasted 1km, when a Quick-Step Floors rider counter-attacked.

He, too, was caught, but with the finishing line less than 500 metres away.

Sagan rewarded his Bora-Hansgrohe team, who, along with Orica-Scott, did the lion’s share of the pace-setting in the peloton throughout the day.

It was Team Sunweb, however, who boasted the most impressive sprinters’ train. Understandably confident following their huge success at the Tour de France, they hit the front of the peloton with a large train of riders inside the final 20km, and, despite competition from other teams, remained organised and well-placed to set-up their designated sprinter Maximilian Walscheid.

However the young German could only manage eleventh.

A break of four spent most of the day off the front of the peloton, comprising of Pawel Bernas (Poland), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Maciej Paterski (CCC-Sprandi) and Charles Planet (Novo Nordisk).

Paterski and Keier broke clear with 34km to go on the climb of the Kaszow, but always seemed doomed fail.

Paterski put in a spirited effort, doing most of the work and at one point setting such a fierce pace that Keizer briefly lost his wheel. But both riders were eventually swallowed up by the peloton, first Keizer with 16km to go, then Paterski with 14.5km.

Keizer seemed more keen on taking the various sprints on offer throughout the day, claiming maximum points over both categorised climbs ahead of Paterski, and again out-sprinting his breakaway companion at the final intermediate sprint before sitting up and waiting for the bunch to catch him.

Results

Tour of Poland 2017, stage one: Krakow – Krakow (130km)

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 02-56-06
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
4. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
5. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
7. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Poland
9. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, all same time

General classification after stage one

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 02-56-06
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 4s
3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky, at 6s
4. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data, at 9s
5. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana, at 10s
6. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Poland
9. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, all same time