(CNN) -- Tour de France winner Alberto Contador suffered a heavy crash in the opening stage of the Paris-Nice race in France -- the first major European contest of the 2010 cycling season.
Pre-race favorite Contador, who is riding for the Astana team again this year, came off his bike with under 5km remaining of the 203.5km stage from Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines to Contres.
However, the Spaniard, who finished fourth to Dutchman Lars Boom in Sunday's opening prologue, was able to recover and eventually finished in the main pack, although he has now slipped to eighth position in the general classification -- 25 seconds off the pace.
The windy stage was won by New Zealander Greg Henderson, who edged out Lampre rider Grega Boel to give Team Sky their first ever win on European soil.
Rabobank rider Boom was among a group of 15 riders who came home 17 seconds ahead of the peloton and he retains his overall race lead from Jens Voigt of Germany and Briton David Millar.
"It was a hard day but a good day," Boom told the race's official Web site. "In the Netherlands, we have lots of races like this with crosswinds, the team knows how to handle this type of situation."