What's Cool In Road Cycling

Vuelta06 St01: Golden Boy Sastre!

La Vuelta a España, the last of the BIG 3 Tours starts today in the seaside town of Málaga, the race is wide open and there are a lot of names in the hat. Today is a Team Time Trial, the team leaders have to do well on this flat 7.3 kilometer straight out course to keep their hopes alive.

In 2002 La Vuelta also started with a TTT in Valencia, that year Joseba Beloki’s ONCE team won over the much longer 24.6 kilometers distance, today will be fast and furious. The course is not too interesting though, from the start point at the Málaga sports center there is a sharp bend onto a pan-flat, straight road to the finish where there is another corner before the finish, not the most inspiring with views of the port, but not for the riders.

They’re Off!
Relax-Gam are first away at 7:12pm, last team will be Denis Menchov’s Rabobank, four minutes separate each team. Relax have their bit of fame as of course they are first leaders, but not for long as next off Lampre beat their time of 8 minutes 13 seconds by 16 seconds, then all the other teams beat them also, but they are tryers!

Milram rode a fantastic TTT to take 3rd @ 8 seconds. If Petacchi or Zabel manages a good sprint tomorrow the Golden Jersey will be in the Milram camp.

Who Looks Good?
Strongman and PEZ writer Magnus Backstedt is giving his Liquigas team a real hammering, to be fastest at the time check at 3,3 kilometers. T-Mobile are not a team of stars, but put in a blistering ride to take the lead with a time of 7 minutes 47 seconds, news is that they will lose Kloden to the Astana team of Vinokourov in ’07.

The conditions are not ideal for racing as there is a sea mist coming in off the coast making things very humid. Zabel and Petacchi are riding well and bring in the new fastest time, 3 seconds ahead of T-Mobile and 5 faster than Credit-Agricole and Liquigas. Bad luck for Rebellin of Gerolsteiner who crashes on the first roundabout, he’ll have to do an individual time trial now.

T-Mobile rode an excellent TTT with a young squad – finishing 5th on the day, 11 seconds back.

Davitamon-Lotto are not a team time trial squad and prove it by not doing so well, talking to Fred Rodriguez yesterday he said he was feeling better, but hard to come back after his crash, he’s here to help McEwen and if he can do anything else, all the better. Possibly they are saving themselves for later in the race.

Next off is Saunier Duval, I also managed a quick word with David Millar last night, he said he had recovered well from the Tour and is looking forward to this Vuelta very much. Saunier do a good enough ride to tie with Credit Agricole and Liquigas, 5 seconds behind Milram, there is still Discovery, CSC, Astana, Illes Ballears and Rabobank to come in. In the teams area Illes Ballears are by far the most popular team for the fans with Valverde and Pereiro, they get mobbed everywhere they go here in Spain.

Losing their top star has not seemed to hinder the CSC team in the least as they tramp from one success to another.

Getting Close
Tom Danielson urges his Discovery team on to be less than a second behind Milram, they look very good, Astana are third at 3 seconds and it’s just the top three to come in and the excitement is building. Illes Balears were leaders at the time check and keep that going to the finish to beat Milram’s time by one second, but very quickly CSC are in sight with O’Grady on the front for Sastre, they need five to finish and Sastre is first over the line to take the new lead time by seven seconds.

Bjarne Riis seemed fairly pleased with Carlos Sastre’s overall lead after Stage 1.

Only Rabobank To Come
Menchov was given the Gold jersey last night but has not worn it today, Rabobank are not really a time trial team, they are a bit lightweight for that and it shows as they finish well of the pace. So it’s Carlos Sastre of CSC to take the first Gold Jersey of this year’s Vuelta, he’s ridden the Giro and the Tour this year, so it will be quite a feat to pull off the win here!

Stage 1 Result:
1є Team CSC CSC 7:36
2є Caisse D’Epargne – Illes Balears CEI a 7
3є Team Milram MRM a 8
4є Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team DSC a 9
5є T- Mobile Team TMO a 11
6є Astana AWT a 12
7є Saunier Duval – Prodir SDV a 13
8є Credit Agricole C.A a 13
9є Liquigas LIQ a 13
10є Quick Step – Innergetic QSI a 15
11є Euskaltel – Euskadi EUS a 18
12є Rabobank RAB a 18
13є Gerolsteiner GST a 19
14є Lampre – Fondital LAM a 21
15є Bouygues Telecom BTL a 24
16є Davitamon – Lotto DVL a 25
17є Phonak Hearing Systems PHO a 27
18є Ag2r Prevoyance A2R a 27
19є Franзaise des Jeux FDJ a 28
20є Cofidis, le Credit Par Telephone COF a 30
21є Relax – GAM REG a 37

Overall After Stage 1:
1є SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC 7:36
2є BAK, Lars Ytting DEN CSC m.t.
3є SORENSEN, Nicki DEN CSC m.t.
4є LJUNGQVIST, Marcus SWE CSC m.t.
5є O’GRADY, Stuart AUS CSC m.t.
6є CUESTA, Iсigo ESP CSC m.t.
7є GUSTOV, Volodymir UKR CSC m.t.
8є ARVESEN, Kurt-Asle NOR CSC m.t.
10є GARCIA ACOSTA, Josй Vicent ESP CEI a 7
11є ZANDIO, Xabier ESP CEI a 7
12є PEREIRO, Oscar ESP CEI a 7
13є VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP CEI a 7
14є KARPETS, Vladimir RUS CEI a 7
15є ARROYO, David ESP CEI a 7
16є LASTRAS, Pablo ESP CEI a 7
17є ZABEL, Erik GER MRM a 8
18є PETACCHI, Alessandro ITA MRM a 8
19є VELO, Marco ITA MRM a 8
20є DYUDYA, Volodymyr UKR MRM a 8

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