German cyclist Erik Zabel won the opening stage of the death-marked Tour of Germany on Tuesday ahead of Australia's Stuart O'Grady.
The stage was overshadowed by the death of 23-year-old French rider Fabrice Salanson, who was found dead in his hotel room in the morning.
"We are all in shock," said German veteran Udo Bolts.
Salanson's La Brioche Boulangere team pulled out of the race.
The justice department announced it had opened an inquiry and the results of the autopsy would be known on Wednesday.
However, the death raised the spectre of drugs - in particular EPO, which has caused the heart-attack deaths of many European cyclists. Many EPO-using cyclists have died in their sleep as their hearts struggled to pump thickened blood.
Race director Roland Hofer said Salanson was found in his hotel room and had died between 2.30am and 4am.
Team manager Jean-Rene Bernadeau said that Salanson's roommate, Sylvain Chavanel, had found him lying at the foot of his bed when he went to wake him in the morning.
"Chavanel told me that they [the riders] had a quiet evening on Monday. He [Chavanel] only realised Fabrice was dead when he went to wake him up," said Bernadeau.
"We can't make any comments about the cause of the death as Fabrice was in great physical shape. We have to wait for the post-mortem.
"This is the kind of thing which can sometimes happen but it's a terrible tragedy."
Salanson joined the Brioches team this year after riding with Bonjour from 2000 to 2002.
He won two professional events, with his most important victory on the second stage of the Midi Libre in May 2002.
Salanson also had a stage win in the Tour de l'Avenir in 2000, his first year of professional cycling.
Tuesday's stage, which started in Dresden, was dominated by a 137-kilometre solo escape by Danish rider Jorgen Bo Peterson but he was eventually reeled in 3km from the finish leaving it to the sprinters to fight it out, with Zabel eclipsing O'Grady to take the stage.