Chris Froome described the support he received from fellow riders on his return at the Ruta del Sol as "touching".
The Team Sky rider, who is in the midst of a drugs test controversy, finished safely among the peloton in Spain on Wednesday.
But the Briton was moved by the reaction of his competitors, who he insists gave him a warm welcome.
"It's the first race in the build-up to the Giro [d'Italia] now and it's good to be back racing," said the four-time Tour de France champion.
"I always enjoy racing in Spain, it's a great atmosphere here again.
"What was very touching was how many riders from other teams came up to me during the stage to offer their support. That was very touching.
"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."
REPORT: A strong team performance from Team Sky on the opening stage of #64RdS leaves @ChrisFroome & @WoutPoels in contention ahead of Thursday's Queen stage— Team Sky (@TeamSky) February 14, 2018
Froome's participation has drawn criticism after a urine sample he provided showed twice the permitted amount of the asthma drug salbutamol in his system during last year's Vuelta a Espana, which the 32-year-old won.
Salbutamol is not a banned substance, but Froome will be subject to a sanction if no legitimate physiological explanation for the finding is provided.
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.
|Rhinos captain Watkins ruled out for eight months|
|No clue - Klopp defiant over Can to Juventus claims|
|Younis tips Babar for Pakistan greatness|
|Germany squad numbers hint at World Cup good news for Neuer|
|WATCH: Moto3 rider makes spectacular jump over crashed rival|
|Leaving out Morata ´painful´ for Spain boss Lopetegui|
|Gustard to leave England role for Harlequins|
|Nainggolan retires from Belgium duty after World Cup snub|
|Spain striker Morata misses out on World Cup selection|
|LeBron or Kawhi could lead Lakers to the Finals - World Peace|
|Serena steps up Roland Garros training ahead of French Open|
|Nainggolan left out of Belgium´s World Cup squad|
|The long goodbye: Iniesta sits alone in Camp Nou after final Barcelona match|
|Wane to leave Warriors at end of season|
|Dr Fury will see you now - Tyson plans future career in medicine|
|Harden, D´Antoni rue ´soft´ Rockets performance in Warriors drubbing|
|Liverpool players can change their lives in Kiev, says Gerrard|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Can great deeds of the past fuel the bid for Champions League glory?|
|Wash your mouth out! - Curry´s expletive outburst earns scolding from mother|
|Rakitic lost for words as Iniesta heads for Barcelona exit|
|Conte: Chelsea must overhaul squad to change style|
|Johnston: Liverpool can´t lose Suarez, Coutinho and Salah!|
|Messi: I like Griezmann, he´s one of the best|
|Ohtani says he´s not good enough for Home Run Derby yet|
|Mendy: France are eyeing World Cup glory|
|Scott accepts two-week ban for Walker punch|
|Braves rally for six runs in the ninth to defeat Marlins|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls upstage Atlanta thanks to Wright-Phillips brace|
|Warriors breeze past Rockets in game three|
|We have a quality squad – Man City chairman hints at caution in transfer market|
|Wise cruises to maiden PGA Tour victory at Byron Nelson|
|Matic: United can fight for Premier League and Champions League with experience|
|Golden Knights GM on Stanley Cup Finals berth: I don´t know how we did it|
|I did a ´s*** job´ defending LeBron James – Morris|
|Dembele suffers sprained right ankle|
|We know Fellaini´s not going to renew with United – Mirabelli suggests Milan move|
|Cavs´ Lue not satisfied with just one win|
|They even whistled at Torres – Simeone backs Griezmann|
|I arrived as a boy, I leave as a man – Iniesta in emotional Barcelona farewell|
|Lingard: Wembley loss my worst feeling in football|
|Cahill: Conte uncertainty affecting Chelsea|
|Sarri has run out of time – Napoli chief De Laurentiis|
|Barca boss Valverde salutes departing Iniesta|
|I feel like I´ve been run over by a truck or had 15 pints - Crutchlow|
|Four sent off as Ajaccio win chaotic Le Havre play-off on penalties|
|Sweden win shoot-out to retain world title|
|De Vrij penalty was destiny for Inter - Icardi|
|PSG? Maybe one day - Pogba coy over long-term future at Manchester United|
|Messi wins fifth European Golden Shoe|
|Gattuso calls for more malice at Milan|
|Barcelona 1 Real Sociedad 0: Coutinho stunner lights up Iniesta´s farewell|
|Lazio 2 Inter 3: Spalletti´s men seal Champions League qualification with stunning comeback|
|Royals reach play-offs as Kings XI come up short|
|Nadal sees clearly after Rome rain is gone|
|Double whammy for Zverevs as Mischa bows out in Geneva|
|Atletico Madrid pay fitting tribute to tearful Torres|
|Hull FC claim derby spoils, Dragons off the bottom|
|Buzarnescu battles through as McHale impresses in Nuremberg|
|Neymar an artist who will not need special treatment - new PSG coach Tuchel|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Eibar 2: Torres bows out with a double|
|Napoli 2 Crotone 1: Milik and Callejon condemn visitors to the drop|
|Iniesta starts on Barcelona goodbye but Messi rested|
|Nadal rallies after rain break to dethrone Zverev in Rome|
|AC Milan 5 Fiorentina 1: Cutrone brace secures Europa League group stage spot|
|I think I made a fantastic decision - Garoppolo key to Sherman joining 49ers|
|FIFPro appeals to FIFA over Guerrero World Cup ban|
|Neymar made mistake joining PSG - Rivaldo|
|Simple for Simon as outstanding Yates extends Giro advantage|
|Ulster qualify for Champions Cup as Biggar makes history|
|Neymar tired of rumours and staying at PSG, president Al-Khelaifi claims|