Thor Hushovd sprinted to third behind Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek), while Tyler Farrar took fourth in the day's intermediate sprint. However Christian Vande Velde, Ryder Hesjedal and Tom Danielson were all caught out by a crash within the final 10 kilometers that also affected 2010 Tour winner Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).
"It's the first day of the Tour de France and crashes happened. They just happened to occur at the front. It's on to tomorrow," team boss Jonathan Vaughters said at the finish.
"We're going well but this Tour for is about day-by-day. We were third and that's great but we just have to focus on tomorrow and when that's done we'll focus on the rest day. We've got 12 or 13 chances to win a stage and we're going to try and take every single one of those chances. We won't get caught up in the emotion of just one stage."
Vande Velde and Hesjedal have both finished inside the top 10 at the Tour de France in recent years but now sit 1.55 down on yellow with most of their rivals ahead of them. Despite the gap, Vaughters believes that both riders can still turn their fortunes around and finish within the top ten overall.
"I don't think any of our guys were true contenders for the podium but if you look at the history of the Tour they've both got a very strong possibility of the getting in the top 10. I have every faith they we'll get one in top 10 but at the moment I just don't know which one."
Garmin's GC race could get back on track via the team time trial a 23-kilometer time trial. Vaughters, who won a team effort back at the Tour in 2001, has guided a team of riders to success before in the discipline with Vande Velde taking the maglia rosa after the team won the opening TTT at the 2008 Giro. If Garmin can produce the goods they stand a realistic chance of lifting Hushovd into the yellow jersey.
"The guys are all very motivated," he told Cyclingnews.
"If everyone's not too banged up and fresh this is the most unified team time trial team I've ever seen in practice. I know how good we are but I don't know how good the others are. We're going to give it hell."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.