The one consolation from Richie Porte's Tour de France start is that some major rivals, including four-time champion Chris Froome, also lost time in the crash-marred closing kilometres of stage one.
Australian star Porte finds himself 51 seconds down, along with fellow general classification contenders Froome and Simon Yates, while Nairo Quintana is a further 24 seconds back after suffering two broken wheels.
Unlike Froome and Yates, BMC team leader Porte did not crash but he was held up as riders untangled themselves.
"It was pretty nervous there and not ideal but I think Quintana lost more. Froome was there and that's the Tour," a philosophical Porte told cyclingnews.com.
"I was pretty close to coming down. I sort of rode my teammate Damiano Caruso into the ground and that softened the blow.
"I don't really know what happened to be honest but one minute it's all OK and the next thing there's a crash in front, and there were a few more crashes on the way in.
"It's the first day of the Tour but it's not ideal."
Colombian Fernando Gaviria won a bunch sprint after the 201km ride from Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile to take the yellow jersey ahead of world champion Peter Sagan and German Marcel Kittel.
Australian sprint star Michael Matthews was seventh.
The misfortune of Froome, Porte and Yates is a boost for the likes of France's Romain Bardet and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 Giro d'Italia winner, who came through unscathed and recorded the same time as Gaviria.
The unfortunate trio will have an opportunity to make up for some lost time in Monday's team time trial in Cholet.
Froome, hoping to become the first rider in 20 years to achieve a Giro-Tour double, crashed into a grass section on the side of the road with five kilometres left and was quickly back on his bike, but the speeding peloton did not wait as preparations as the final mass sprint had started.