Rapha-Condor-Sharp's Matt Cronshaw lay in second spot after the prologue of the P&O Irish Sea Tour of the North.
A rainswept Stormont Estate hosted the race opener, won by Phillip Lavery (Cycling Ulster). 2009 winner Martyn Irvine, riding for Planet X, placed third.
Rapha's Dean Downing is struggling with injury having pulled a muscle in his back en route to the airport but managed sixth on the day.
Saturday's 76-mile stage takes in the tough climb of Sleive Croob, while the route for Sunday has been changed due to snow lying in the Limavady area.
1 Philip Lavery (Cycling Ulster) 2.13.71
2 Matt Cronshaw (Rapha Condor Sharp) 2.14.59
3 Martyn Irvine (Planet X) 2.15.09
4 Stephen Gallagher (Sigma Sport) 2.16.40
5 Glenn Kinning (East Antrim) 2.17.07
6 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) 2.18.29
7 Ryan Connor (Cycling Ulster) 2.18.90
8 Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor Sharp) 2.19.09
9 Jack Pullar (Herbalife) 2.19.58
10 Tom Last (Sigma Sport) 2.20.20
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