Bonn - Alvaro Jose Hodeg hurled himself across the line to win the opening stage of the Tour of Germany, while Geraint Thomas, in his first race since winning the Tour de France, finished safely in the pack.
Thomas, of Team Sky, was relaxed about his chances of adding the German tour to his French success last month.
"I will help wherever I can and just enjoy being here," said the Welshman.
With the stage race in his home country resuming after a 10-year hiatus, Pascal Ackermann, who rides for Bora-Handsgrohe, launched his bid for glory several hundred metres from the finish of the 157-kilometre ride from Koblenz.
However, it was Hodeg who triumphed in a winning time of 3 hours, 35.08 minutes.
Hodeg, a 21-year-old Colombian who rides for Quick Step, came late and did just enough to win in a photo finish.
Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida), a 24-year-old Italian, was half a wheel back in third.
"I knew the best sprinters were here like (Andre) Greipel and (Marcel) Kittel," Hodeg told Eurosport. "It was a great feeling to beat all these great sprinters."
Ackermann regretted mistiming his bid for victory.
"I went at 250 metres from the finish and thought it was enough, but I lost the race in the last ten metres, that annoys me. I acted too early," Ackermann, 24, told broadcaster WDR.
Greipel finished sixth as Thomas and Tour de France runner-up Tom Dumoulin finished safely with the peloton.
Friday's stage from Bonn to Trier will test Thomas and Dumoulin with four climbs towards the end of the 196km through the Eifel.
Results from Thursday's opening 157km stage in the Tour of Germany from Koblenz to Bonn:
1. Alvaro Hodeg Chagui (COL/Quick-Step) 3hr 35:08sec, 2. Pascal Ackermann (GER/Bora Hansgrohe) st, 3. Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA/Quick Step) st, 4. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA/Dimension Data) st, 5. Alexander Krieger (GER/Leopard) st, 6. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto Soudal) st, 7. Aaron Grosser (GER/Sauerland) st, 8. Colin Joyce (USA/Rally) st, 9. Rick Zabel (GER/Katusha) st, 10. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA/Israel Cycling Academy) sr