Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) won the opening stage Wednesday of the Etoile de Besseges, the first European stage race of the 2012 calendar.
Bouhanni outkicked Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) in the mass gallop after several breakaway attempts fell short in the 148.5km first stage from Beaucaire to Bellegarde. Bobbie Traksel (Vacansoleil) crossed the line third.
With time bonuses, Bouhanni takes the lead into Thursday’s second stage. Jure Kocjan (TT1) crossed the line seventh for the U.S.-registered team.