Cycling: Cavendish leads as Omega win team time-trial

British sprint ace Mark Cavendish is the first leader of the Tirreno-Adriatico race after his Omega Pharma team won the opening team time-trial over 16.9km from San Vincenzo to Donoratico on Wednesday.

The former world road-race champion led his teammates over the finish line in 19min 24sec, 11sec ahead of Movistar with the BMC team of former Tour de France winner Cadel Evans coming home third at 16sec.

The winner paid tribute to world time-trial champion and German teammate Tony Martin.

"It's a very happy day for us, we're the world champions in this discipline, Tony Martin did fantastic work but everyone was exceptional," said Cavendish.

Cavendish is not expected to hold onto the lead in the week-long event which features three former Tour de France winners.

As well as Evans of Australia, Spaniard Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck of Luxemburg are also in the field as well as last year's Paris-Nice winner, Vincenzo Nibali and Team Sky's Chris Froome.

Nibali of Italy and the Astana team finished fifth, 20sec back with Tour de France runner-up Froome, in the Sky line-up that finished seventh at 25sec.

Contador's Saxo Bank team finished next 29sec behind with Schleck's RadioShack in 10th, 36sec off the pace.