Wiggins on attack in Catalunya
Sir Bradley Wiggins made his intentions clear at the Volta a Catalunya as he split the peloton with an attacking finish to stage one.
The Tour de France winner lit the blue touch paper on the final descent of the day as he pushed onwards, causing a significant split in the bunch as 13 riders headed into Calella.
Flanked by team-mates Dario Cataldo and David L? it was Wiggins who led the group into the finishing straight, the move taking 28 seconds out of a number of rivals.
Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) sprinted to victory and an early lead as he came over the top of Wiggins, the Belgian holding off Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the finish.
With contenders Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Robert Gesink (Blanco Cycling), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Valverde all alive to the move it quickly became apparent the escape had a good chance of making it to the line.
The gap spun out along the coastal run-in and in the end the lead group landed a strong psychological blow in a stage that had looked like being a relatively innocuous sprint finish.
A decisive stage in last year's event, the day's break was kept firmly in check by the peloton this time around on a 159.3-kilometre loop around Calella.
After 15km Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Cristiano Salerno (Cannondale) forged clear on the uphill start and the first of three climbs of the Alt de Collsacreu.
The duo opened out a maximum gap of 8:40 as the race headed inland. Back in the pack it was Movistar and Omega Pharma - Quick-Step who initially set about keeping the two men in check.
As the stage wore on, a number of teams were willing to help on the front, but with the break caught and 25km to go it was Team Sky who hit the front on the final time over the Collsacreu to set the pace and keep a lid on attacks.
Over the summit Wiggins pushed on and with a call to arms to the riders around him the Brit plummeted onto the descent to cause panic in the group behind and an intriguing finish to day one.