Andre Greipel picked up his fourth win of the season by sprinting to victory on stage one of the Tour of the Mediterranean.
The Lotto-Belisol rider continued his superb start to the campaign with another dominant display as he beat Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Maxime Daniel (Saur Sojasun) into second and third respectively on the 141km route from Limoux to Gruissan.
But there was bad news for Andy Schleck, who abandoned the race after the stage having suffered all day with a respiratory tract infection.
The 2010 Tour de France winner lost contact with the peloton early on but continued to the end "out of respect for the fans".
It is the second race he has pulled out of already this season after withdrawing from the Santos Tour Down Under last month.
The Luxembourger said: "This morning I already had breathing problems. Instead of getting better, it just got worse during the race because of the cold and the wind.
"I didn't want to abandon out of respect for the fans and the organisation, but also because I need this competition.
"After the Tour Down Under I felt I was in a good way and I was really looking forward to this race. I am now sicker than I was before. I need to let my body recover and I hope I can resume training as soon as possible. In theory my race program will not change."
Schleck will return to racing at the Tour du Haut-Var on February 16-17.