Dutch rider Charlotte Kool took victory in the opening stage of the RideLondon Classique as Great Britain’s Lizzie Deignan finished third in Colchester.
Team DSM’s Kool, who received a strong lead-out from former British champion Pfeiffer Georgi, crossed before Clara Copponi in a select sprint.
The Dutchwoman, 24, said it was a “dream start”.
Deignan, of Trek-Segafredo, only returned to racing in April after the birth of her second child last year.
“It was the perfect lead-out and a dream start,” Kool said.
“I think Pfeiffer showed again she’s one of the best lead-outs in the world and she brought me into the perfect position.”
Making her first appearance in the Classique, Deignan, 34, fought to split the peloton with 30km remaining and only 12 riders were left as Georgi steered team-mate Kool into pole position.
Despite launching the sprint, FDJ-Suez’s Copponi was outpaced by Kool, who finished the 150km race, from Saffron Walden to Colchester, in three hours 56 minutes 35 seconds.
The Classique, Britain’s only UCI Women’s World Tour race, continues on Saturday with a 133km stage before Sunday’s 92km finale in London.
Stage 1 result
1. Charlotte Kool (Ned/Team DSM) 3hrs 56mins 35secs
2. Clara Copponi (Fra/FDJ-Suez) Same time
3. Lizzie Deignan (GB/Trek-Segafredo) Same time
4. Maike van der Duin (Ned/Canyon-SRAM) Same time
5. Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita/UAE Team ADQ) Same time
General classification after stage 1
1. Charlotte Kool (Ned/Team DSM) 3hrs 56mins 23secs
2. Clara Copponi (Fra/FDJ-Suez) +6secs
3. Lizzie Deignan (GB/Trek-Segafredo) +8secs
4. Eleonora Camilla Gasparrini (Ita/UAE Team ADQ) +11secs
5. Maike van der Duin (Ned/Canyon-SRAM) +12secs