Luis Leon Sanchez of Spain won Tuesday's first stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe, with Lance Armstrong finishing close behind in the main pack.
Sanchez, riding for Caisse d'Epargne, made his move a couple of hundred meters (yards) from the end of the 184.6-kilometer (114-mile) ride from Sable-sur-Sarthe to Varades.
Sanchez finished third at last month's Paris-Nice race.
Armstrong did not speak to reporters after the stage. The four-day race is part of his preparation for the Tour de France in July.
Results were not immediately available.