Alexander Kristoff has won the stage one of the Tour de France while Australian stars Caleb Ewan and Richie Porte were among numerous riders to take a tumble during the rain-affected opener.
Norway's Kristoff outsprinted Porte's Trek-Segafredo teammate Mads Pedersen after 156km around Nice with Cees Bol third after the chaotic stage that was overshadowed by a series of crashes.
Ewan, who won three stage at the Grand Tour last year, crashed within three kilometres of the finish but the Lotto Soudal Sprint ace still managed 19th place.
Porte came unstuck with about 68km of the stage remaining and rejoined the race about 90 seconds adrift of the peloton and came home 115th.
Because so many riders went down so close to the finish on the Promenade des Anglais, the top 132 were all awarded the same time as the stage winner.
Local hope Thibaut Pinot was left fuming after taking a heavy tumble near the finish line.
"It was one of the worst days of my career," he said. "It was like riding on an icy road."
Pinot, who is considered as one of the title contenders behind favourites Primoz Roglic and defending champion Egan Bernal sustained bruises on his leg and shoulder.
Colombian Nairo Quintana, twice a Tour runner-up, fell earlier while Pavel Sivakov, one of Bernal's key lieutenants, hit the ground twice.
The race got off to an eventful start as rain made the roads extremely slippery.
"There must have been 100 riders crashing. Everyone struggles, everyone got scared," Pinot's teammate Valentin Madouas said
"It was like an ice rink."
The multiple incidents had prompted the Jumbo Visma team to ask the peloton to take it slow in a descent but Astana refused to take the foot off the gas pedal.
Their decision backfired, however, as their team leader Miguel Angel Lopez aquaplaned head first into a road sign.
The Colombian managed to get back on his bike.
In another descent, Roglic's teammate George Bennett also crashed, meaning riders from the top two teams - Jumbo Visma and Ineos Grenadiers - were nursing bruises after the first day.
The race started in front of scarce crowds in central Nice amid fears of a coronavirus second wave as the number of daily cases has been rising within France at an alarming rate in recent weeks.
Riders and their staff are part of a race bubble in order to minimise risks of infections and French health authorities.
Sunday's second stage runs over 186km mountainous terrain and includes two category one climbs.