Gretsch wins Ster ZLM prologue
HTC Highroad rider Patrick Gretsch won the prologue of the Ster ZLM Tour, his first win as a professional.
German Gretsch, 24, took the opener by three seconds from team-mate Alex Rasmussen, finishing the seven kilometres in eight minutes, 30.67 seconds.
"Patrick did a perfect job, taking a lot of risks on the corners, but using his time trial skills very well, too," said HTC-Highroad sports director Jan Schaffrath.
"He really pushed it in the first two kilometres, which were very technical, had lots of corners and even a few cobbled sections, and I think that's where he made the difference.
"Alex rode really, really well, but he was already a couple of seconds down on Patrick right from the start and it stayed like that all the way through."
HTC secured overall victory in the race last year - then named Ster Elektrotoer - through Adam Hansen.
"We're in a good position and tomorrow's (Thursday's) stage should finish in a bunch sprint, which would be good for Alex," added Schaffrath. "After that, we're into the hilly stages and we'll take it on day by day."
Alex Dowsett of Team Sky was third, two seconds behind Rasmussen.