LIDO DI CAMAIORE, Italy France's Thibaut Pinot and Colombian Nairo Quintana looked set to battle it out for overall victory on the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race after their outfits finished the opening team time trial in good positions on Wednesday.
BMC Racing won the stage in 23 minutes 21 seconds with Italian Damiano Caruso taking the overall lead, ahead of Quick Step-Floors, who finished 16 seconds behind.
Pinot's FDJ team were third, 21 seconds off the pace, just ahead of Quintana's Movistar team, who clocked the same time.
Pinot, third in the 2014 Tour de France, and Quintana, second in 2015, will now fight for the overall win in the following stages.
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)