Mark Cavendish missed out on glory in his first race in the world champion's rainbow jersey, finishing 42nd in the Paris-Tours cycling classic.
Fellow Brit Ian Stannard finished fourth in a race, won by Belgian Greg van Avermaet from a 22-man break.
Cavendish said on Twitter: "Phew, that was a stressful day. A strong wind from the start, with small roads.
"It was a hard race with a worthy winner. Congratulations to Greg Van Avermaet."
BMC rider Van Avermaet edged Italian Marco Marcato of Vacansoleil with Denmark's Kasper Klostergaard-Larsen of Saxo Bank finishing third ahead of Team Sky's Stannard in the chasing trio, 15 seconds back after the 230.5km race.
Cavendish and Belgian Philippe Gilbert - both among the pre-race favourites - missed the breakaway and Cavendish's HTC-Highroad team were hampered by the poor weather as they attempted to chase down the break.