Britain’s Hannah Barnes finished sixth as Italy’s Marta Bastianelli won a dramatic sprint finish to take the opening stage of the Women’s Tour of Britain in Banbury.
A large group of riders approached the finish line in a pack and 2007 road race world champion Bastianelli of Ale BTC Ljubljana edged ahead for victory.
Britain’s Josie Nelson was eighth with compatriot Joss Lowden in 23rd.
Defending champion Lizzie Deignan was 26 seconds behind the leaders.
Deignan’s Trek-Segafredo team-mate Chloe Hosking finished second in the 147.7km Bicester to Banbury stage, while FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope’s Clara Copponi was third.
Barnes, Nelson and Lowden – who broke cycling’s prestigious hour record on Thursday – were three of eight British riders to finish in the leading group.
Deignan is the only rider to have won the Women’s Tour twice and the 32-year-old arrived in Oxfordshire after victory in the gruelling Paris-Roubaix race on Saturday.
“It’s a very nice win for me,” Bastianelli said of her first Women’s Tour stage victory. “The sprint was not easy because it is a little bit tougher and uphill, and I think it is not for the sprinters, but for me it is a good race and a good day.”
Nina Kessler took the sprints jersey, while Demi Vollering has the Queen of the Mountains jersey.
Tuesday’s stage will take place in Walsall and cover 102.2km.
Women’s Tour stage one result
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ita/Ale BTC Ljubljana) 3 hours 44mins 41secs
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus/Trek-Segafredo) Same time
3. Clara Copponi (Fra/FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope)
4. Sheyla Gutierrez (Spa/Movistar)
5. Elena Cecchini (Ita/SD Worx)
6. Hannah Barnes (GB/Canyon SRAM Racing)
7. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita/Liv Racing)
8. Josie Nelson (GB/ Team Coop-Hitec Products)
9. Amy Pieters (Ned/SD Worx)
10. Leah Kirchmann (Can/Team DSM)