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VUELTA’16 St.1: First Blood To Sky!

Race Report: Team Sky beat Movistar by a fraction of a second in the 28.7 kilometer team time trial stage 1 of the Vuelta a España in Castrel de Mino on Saturday and put Peter Kennaugh in to the first leader jersey.

vuelta16st1-sky-podium-920A very happy Team Sky

The opening stage was a close battle between Chris Froome’s Sky squad and Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana’s Movistar team with Orica-BiekeExchange at only seconds. Possible loser of the day was Alberto Contador as his Tinkoff team lost 52 seconds to finish in the same time as Cannondale-Drapac in 9th place.

vuelta16st1-tinkoff-920Alberto Contador lost 52 important seconds

First team down the start ramp was Bora-Argon 18, launching the 2016 Vuelta, the ProContinental team set the benchmark time of 31:34. Astana had won the team time trial in Galicia in 2013 but they saw their hopes vanish quickly when their leader Miguel Angel Lopez suffered a mechanical. As a result, the Kazkah outfit finished just a second outside the time set by Bora-Argon 18.

Castrelo de Mino - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Team Giant - Alpecin  pictured during stage 1 from Ourense termal. B. de Laias - P. N. Castrelo de Mino - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2016Giant-Alpecin missed the speed of Tom Dumoulin to finish a poor 20th at 1:50

vuelta16st1-etixx-920Etixx – Quick-Step looked good, for a while

vuelta16st1-etixx-riders-920Etixx thought they had done enough

Ex-team time trial world champions of 2012, Etixx – Quick-Step broke the 31-minute barrier with 30:59 with only five riders at the finish, while most other teams were trying both to limit the damage and spare their climbers. Orica-BikeExchange also had decided to give it their all and they improved the Etixx – Quick-Step time by 16 seconds with Damien Howson leading the way.

vuelta16st1-orica-920A strong 3rd place for Orica-BikeExchange

Winners of the Vuelta opening TTT in Marbella, BMC, were again strong favorites and they set the intermediate fastest times before slowing in the finalé to lose out by one second. Howson looked set to be the unexpected first red jersey of 2016.

vuelta16st1-bmc-920

Movistar lifted their speed in the finalé to take six seconds out of the Orica-BikeExchange team, Alejandro Valverde crossing the line first and contemplating a 28th day in red.

vuelta16st1-movistar-920A fraction of a second held Valverde off the Vuelta lead

vuelta16st1-sky-920Top ride from Sky matched Movistar, and a bit

The suspense was far from over as Sky clocked the same team, only beating their Spanish rivals by fractions of a second. It was more than enough for twice British champion Peter Kennaugh to wear the Vuelta leader’s red jersey.

vuelta16st1-kennaugh-podium-920The first red jersey of 2016 goes to Peter Kennaugh

Vuelta a España Stage 1 Result:
1. Sky in 30:37
2. Movistar
3. Orica-BikeExchange at 0:06
4. BMC at 0:07
5. Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:22
6. LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:27
7. Trek-Segafredo at 0:50
8. Cannondale-Drapac at 0:52
9. Tinkoff
10. Bora-Argon 18 at 0:57
11. Astana at 0:58
12. FDJ at 1:05
13. IAM Cycling at 1:13
14. Katusha at 1:17
15. Dimension Data
16. Lotto Soudal at 1:27
17. Cofidis at 1:34
18. Caja Rural-RGA Seguros at 1:36
19. AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:48
20. Giant-Alpecin at 1:50
21. Direct Energie at 1:55
22. Lampre-Merida at 2:09.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 1:
1. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky in 30:37
2. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
4. Leopold König (Cze) Sky
5. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
6. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
7. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar
8. Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
10. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
11. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:01
12. Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:06
13. Magnus Cort (Den) Orica-BikeExchange
14. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange
15. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-BikeExchange
16. Sam Bewley (NZ) Orica-BikeExchange
17. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-BikeExchange
18. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:07
19. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
20. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
21. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC
22. Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC
23. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 0:09
24. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:10
25. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:22.

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