John Degenkolb sprinted to 5th place in the first stage at Volta ao Algarve after some messy and chaotic final kilometers resulted in the team unable to line up its train correctly.
The result was not worth much to a sprinter gunning for first place, but in the fickle game of sprinting with new teammates and a long season ahead, it was nothing to be disappointed about either, explained Degenkolb.
"At the start, we were good in preparing the sprint, but then it was more and more hectic towards the finale, much more than I expected," said Degenkolb. "We had problems to stay together in one row and had to fight to find each other again. In the end, Edward (Theuns) was able to drop me in an okay position, but I didn't have enough space to start the sprint.
"It's still an okay start, and we should not be so disappointed of how it went. I mean, it's the first race that we race together in this combination of riders, and from this side of view we need to be patient and go for it again."
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) got the better of André Greipel (Lotto Soudal), second, and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), third, and will don the leader's jersey into stage two.
With tomorrow's summit finish followed by a time trial Friday, the next opportunity for the team to test out its sprint train will come in stage four on Saturday.
"It was crazy and a completely different kind of sprint than we had at Tour Down Under and Dubai," added Koen de Kort, the trusted captain of the sprint train. "It was a lot more hectic, and more guys were willing to risk a lot to be in the front. It was really difficult to stay together.
"I think we could have stayed a little bit calmer, but it's the first time racing together in this set-up. I think we learned a lot already and the next sprint we can definitely trust our own power a bit more and go to the front a bit later. I think we had a lot of guys really strong at the end but lacked the patience today. I am sure we will get it better next time. It wasn't terrible, but I think we can do much better."