BMC Racing place ahead of Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sky in the opening team test against the clock in the 2018 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico

Damiano Caruso took the early race lead in Tirreno-Adriatico after his BMC Racing squad won the opening team time trial stage of the Italian race on Wednesday.

Former world team time trial champions BMC navigated their way around the flat but twisting 21.5-kilometre course in Lido Di Camaiore with a time of 22 minutes and 19 seconds to claim the victory.

The US-registered team finished with four riders Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Patrick Bevin and Greg Van Avermaet, with Caruso finishing first to earn the leader’s jersey.

Australian team Mitchelton-Scott placed second at four seconds, with Team Sky in third at nine seconds.

Mitchelton-Scott on stage one of the 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Mitchelton-Scott’s team included British general classification hope Adam Yates, who is now the highest ranked among the big overall contenders.

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome finished with Sky’s leaders to position themselves favourably overall.

>>> Tirreno-Adriatico: Latest news, reports and race info

Current TTT world champions Team Sunweb finished in fifth spot, some 25 seconds adrift of BMC – not a perfect start for the team’s Tom Dumoulin, who is reportedly suffering from a cold.

Surprisingly out of the top 10 were Bahrain-Merida and Movistar, whose respective GC riders Vincenzo Nibali and Mikel Landa are now left with some work to do after the first day of the race.

Team Sky. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Mark Cavendish’s race was thrown in doubt after he crashed during Dimension Data’s effort, rolling across the line on his own on a road bike and sporting an array of scuffs and road rash. He finished outside the time cut and is now out of the race.

It was the Manx sprinter’s first race back after withdrawing from the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour due to concussion.

>>> Mark Cavendish’s bad luck continues with nasty Tirreno-Adriatico crash

The 2018 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico continues on Thursday with stage two: a 167km trip from Camaiore to Follonica that offers a flat course that should favour a bunch sprint finish.

The WorldTour-level race concludes on Tuesday, March 13, with an individual time trial.

Damiano Caruso in the Tirreno-Adriatico lead after stage one. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Results

Tirreno-Adriatico 2018, stage one: Lido Di Camaiore to Lido Di Camaiore, 21.5km
1. BMC Racing, in 22-19
2. Mitchelton-Scott, at 4 secs
3. Team Sky, at 9 secs
4. Quick-Step Floors, at 15 secs
5. Team Sunweb, at 25 secs
6. Katusha-Alpecin, at 28 secs
7. Bora-Hansgrohe, at 30 secs
8. Trek-Segafredo, at 39 secs
9. UAE Team Emirates, at 45 secs
10. EF Education First-Drapac, at 45 secs

General classification after stage one
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, in 22-19
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing, at same time
3. Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing, at same time
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, at same time
5. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 4 secs
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott, at 4 secs
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 4 secs
8. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 4 secs
9. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 9 secs
10. Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp) Team Sky, at 9 secs