History repeated for the Australian team who also won the opening team time trial in Belfast in the 2014 event.
Tinkoff-Saxo was the only team who could come close to Orica-GreenEDGE’s time of 19min 26sec, finishing seven seconds down. Astana, the early pace setter, was third, 13 seconds behind.
The Maglia Rosa marks Gerrans's return to form after the Australian missed most of the early season due to injury.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the best of the general classification contenders, finishing with a six second advantage over Fabio Aru (Astana) and 12 seconds on Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick-Step). Australia’s Richie Porte sits 20 seconds down on his Spanish rival after Sky finished eighth.
With a squad built for the team time trial, Orica-GreenEDGE gave a masterclass on the Italian Riviera.
The team relied on the huge engines of their former track riders - Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Sam Bewley and Brett Lancaster - to set a blistering pace in the opening kilometres of the 17.6km course from San Lorenzo al Mare to San Remo. By the midway checkpoint the team was eight seconds faster than Astana, with Lancaser, Durbridge and New Zealand’s Bewley dropping off soon after following massive efforts in the first half of the course.
The team stayed smooth over the second half, extending their advantage to 13 seconds over Astana by the time Gerrans led them across the line. Colombian climber Esteban Chaves did well to hang on to the back of the squad and finish with the team.
"I think technically we can be very happy. We set a really fast time, and left it all out there. It was planned that I would be the first over the line. It's an enormous honour to wear the Maglia Rosa. This team has built a reputation for team time trials, and we have some real specialists here, so this result is a credit to them. Hopefully my season starts again today. It's been very hard so far but hopefully there are really good things to come." - Simon Gerrans.
Of the six teams still to ride, only Tinkoff-Saxo was a threat. While Tinkoff-Saxo went fastest through the checkpoint a moment of incoherence saw team leader Contador struggle to hold the wheel. The team recovered but lost former Giro winner Ivan Basson with 1.5km remaining. Despite their strong start they could not match Orica-GreenEDGE’s time.
Earlier in the day Fabio Aru had lead Astana over the finish line with a fast time of 19min 39sec.
Etixx-Quick-Step and Movistar rounded out the top five, with Team Sky finishing in eighth, 27 seconds down.
Orica-GreenEDGE will again get a chance to shine in Stage 2 with a sprint finish likely in the 177km stage from Albegna to Genova.
Stage 1: 17.6km team time trial, San Lorenzo al Mare - San Remo
1 Orica-GreenEDGE 19min 26sec
2 Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:07
3 Astana 0:00:13
4 Etixx-Quick-Step 0:00:19
5 Movistar 0:00:21
6 IAM Cycling 0:00:25
7 BMC Racing
8 Sky 0:00:27
9 Trek Factory Racing 0:00:29
10 Lotto Soudal 0:00:31