The Garmin-Sharp rider took the first stanza of the five-day German stage race ahead of Ben Swift (Sky) and Juan-Jose Lobato del Valle (Euskaltel).
Henning Bommel (Rad-Net Rose), Grischa Janorschke (Nutrixxion) and Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk) escaped shortly after the start of the 193.8km stage from Pfaffenhofen to the north of Munich.
Team Heizomat's Alexander Grad bridged the gap and the quartet built up an 11-minute lead after 85km on an undulating day in the hills.
But the advantage gradually dwindled with Team Sky really pushing pace in the peloton on three finishing circuits and the escapees were caught with 5km remaining.
And it was the 28-year-old Dane who was quickest on the uphill drag to the line for his first victory of the year.
Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, who became the first British winner of the event in 2011, finished safely in seventh.