Mark Cavendish takes early lead in Tirreno-Adriatico

Mark Cavendish overcame rainy conditions to cross the line first in the opening stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico coast-to-coast race in Italy.

Cavendish and his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team completed the 16.9km team time trial with a time of 19 minutes and 24 seconds.

Movistar finished second, 11 seconds behind the leaders, while Cadel Evans's BMC Racing team were third.

Chris Froome's Team Sky were 25 seconds behind the winners in seventh place.

"Two words, one name - Tony Martin. He did the work," said Cavendish.

"We finished with five but everybody had a part to play. There are no real egos here, except maybe me, but it was all about getting eight guys from point A to point B as quickly as possible."

Froome earned an early advantage over two of his biggest rivals as Team Sky gained four seconds on Alberto Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff and 19 second on Joaquim Rodriguez's Katusha.