Berlin - Australia's Heinrich Haussler has won the rain-affected opening stage of the Tour of Bavaria on Wednesday after beating Belarus' Yauheni Hutarovich and another Australian Steele von Hoff in a sprint finish.
Haussler, a sprint specialist, took the 204.6km stage for his team IAM Cycling and claimed the yellow jersey, but admitted conditions had been tough on the route between Vilshofen and Freilassing.
"It was raining heavily and the head wind was also very strong," said the 30-year-old.
"I focused fully on the final stretch and I realised that I still had good legs.
"I was in a good position on the final corner and I pulled through."
A three-man escape of German riders had pulled clear of the peloton, but their six-minute lead was not enough and they were caught with six kilometres left to go.
Haussler says he expects a hard fight to defend the lead during Thursday's 164.7km second stage from Freilassing up to the ski resort of Reit im Winkl.
"I'll do my best, but I don't think I can defend the yellow jersey," said Haussler, who is better suited to Sunday's flat-stage finish in Nuremberg.Results after the first stage of the Tour of Bavaria on Wednesday, a 201.6km ride from Vilshofen to Freilassing:
Heinrich Haussler (AUS/IAM) 5h 11min 38sec, 2. Yauheni Hutarovich (BLR)
same time, 3. Steele von Hoff (AUS) s.t, 4. Sam Bennett (IRL) s.t., 5.
Roger Kluge (GER) s.t.
16. Geraint Thomas (GBR) s.t., 71. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) s.t.