Teammates Wiggins and Mark Cavendish had been tipped by many to take the victory from the route between Ipswich and the Norfolk County Showground earlier today.
However, the duo were forced to look on following crashes as 22-year-old Welshman Rowe claimed the headlines.
"After Cav went I overcooked the next corner and was off the front, then it was just Luke," Wiggins told reporters. "But we won, which was the main thing. It is great for Luke but unfortunate for Cav – he went down hard again.
"Luke deserves it. He has been knocking on the door all year, has had some third and fourth places. What a day to shine for him."
The second stage of the Tour gets underway tomorrow in Nottingham.