American Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) knocked Team Sky's Geraint Thomas into second place as he won the individual time trial which opened the Giro d'Italia.
Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda), one of the first men down the ramp in the season's first Grand Tour, had set the target time of 10 minutes and 48 seconds over the 8.7 kilometres route around the Danish city of Herning.
That stood for much of the afternoon until Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank) knocked seven seconds off it to move to the top of the standings.
But while he was still conducting his TV interview, Welshman Thomas had roared around the course to cross the line six seconds ahead of him in 10:35.
Thomas, who has spent much of the season on the track and was part of the Team GB team pursuit squad which smashed the world record in winning gold at the recent World Championships in Australia, set a fastest intermediate time of 5:14 after 4.5km which was to stand for the rest of the day.
And despite making the transition from 4km efforts on the boards, he kept up the momentum in the second part of a technical course featuring 17 corners to surge into the lead.
However, he too was only afforded a brief stay at the head of affairs as US star Phinney, a former U23 world time trial champion who set off four minutes after him, produced a power-packed display on the long drag to the line to stop the clock in 10:26.
No one else was able to get close to that, though Dane Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) was later to claim third place, with Phinney's outstanding performance putting nine seconds and more into the rest of the field as he was the only man to average over 50km/h.
His victory means he's the first rider in the race leader's maglia rosa and his team will now look to protect that jersey in Sunday's second stage which covers 206km around Herning.
Last man down the ramp and wearing the pink jersey which he inherited for victory in last year's edition, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) struggled out on course, dropping time to general classification rivals Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).
Speaking to www.teamsky.com afterwards, Thomas was happy with his efforts, saying: "I think I measured it pretty well. I tried to carry my speed through the corners, one or two I could have gone a bit faster but losing by nine seconds I can't blame it on a couple of corners.
"Coming from the track, there's a temptation to try and sprint fast out of those corners but that would obviously take a lot out of me so it was all about judging it correctly which I think I did.
"I definitely tried to keep a bit back for the last 3k and that headwind and I just tried to empty the tank all the way to the line. It didn't feel amazing but I was obviously going okay and am happy to have been up there."
Thomas, winner of the shorter 3.3km prologue at the Tour of Romandie 11 days ago, admits the transition from the track to the road is a challenge, but one that he relishes: "It's tough - obviously the prologue in Romandie was perfect for me coming from the track but I'd also only been back from Australia a couple of weeks so it was nice to get the win there.
"It was then really hard racing for four days there so the lead up to this has been about recovering.
"There are now another 20 stages to go and at the end of the day it's about the bigger picture - I'll be there in the sprints for Cav and then hopefully finish this race well which will set me up nicely for the Olympics.
"For me personally I just want to take the chances to race hard when I can and these next few days are perfect for that.