The race itself was not short on drama as Direct Energie's Thomas Boudat took the stage win, crossing the line ahead of Sacha Modolo after the EF Education First-Drapac prematurely celebrated.
Chris Froome will ride in the Giro d'Italia this year and try to defend his Tour de France title even if an investigation into his adverse doping test is ongoing, the Briton said as he prepared to launch his season on Wednesday.
The first stage of the Ruta del Sol contains repeated, lung-busting climbs over almost 200km heading inland from the Costa del Sol but the biggest examination of Froome occurred earlier, outside the Team Sky bus.
'We're in the middle of that process now and there is a process in place for me to demonstrate that I haven't done anything wrong, ' said Froome. The Guardian and the French newspaper Le Monde revealed the failed test in December and Froome admitted he would have preferred the adverse finding had remained a private matter while protestations were made.
"I'm not asking for the benefit of the doubt here; I'm just asking for a fair process".
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. Crowds of children, some wearing replica Team Sky Lycra, gathered round him at the finish and he duly signed autographs.
"Obviously it's been the first time since I've seen a lot of guys now since this all happened, so it's great to be able to catch up with them in person and see how much support there is out there in the peloton". "It's really quite touching".
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford told reporters last week he believed the decision for Froome to continue racing was the right one.
Rival riders Vincenzo Nibali and Romain Bardet, as well as the president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) David Lappartient have said they believe the British cyclist should take a break from racing until the case has been resolved.
In addition, if the 32-year-old cyclist does fail to convince the UCI of his innocence, he could receive a backdated ban that will have his results from the last Tour of Spain to at least this year's Tour of Italy scrapped. I am doing my utmost to ensure that things are resolved as speedily as possible.