The best images from the split stage one at the 2015 Ruta del Sol, which saw Alberto Contador end the day in the race lead. Photos by Chris Catchpole

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Credit: Chris Catchpole

Mechanics worked from dawn til dusk on a long day which saw a road race and a time trial

The 2015 Ruta del Sol began with a tough opening split stage for the riders on Tuesday, with a 118km road race in the morning, before and 8.2km individual time trial in the afternoon.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished the day in the red jersey of the overall leader, having finished safely in the front group of riders in a road race blighted by crashes, before racing to fourth place in the time trial. Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal) took the race victory on stage 1a, while Spaniard Javier Moreno (Movistar) finished fastest in the time trial.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) was Britain’s highest placed rider in GC at the end of stage one, and he’ll start Wednesday’s stage two in fourth place, eight seconds behind Contador.

Cycling Weekly’s Chris Catchpole was in Andalucia to capture the inside take on the five-day stage early season stage race.

>>> Ruta del Sol stage one: the longest day in pro cycling?

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Topsport Vlaanderen line-up their Merckx road bikes for the morning’s road race

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Chris Froome carries a silver boat he was given before the start of stage 1a (he’s not just stealing it, we promise)

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Alberto Contador makes his way to the start line for his first taste of Ruta del Sol action in his career

Credit: Chris Catchpole

And the Spaniard is proving particularly popular at his home race, as the Tinkoff-Saxo bus gets mobbed

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Steve Cummings and British national champion Pete Kennaugh chew the fat before the race start

Credit: Chris Catchpole

The road race was blighted by crashes which saw a number of big riders lose significant time or abandon through injury

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Johan Vansummeren prepares his TT position for afternoons race against the clock

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Froome recces the 8.2km route in Coria del Rio

Credit: Chris Catchpole

The weather definitely wasn’t at its warmest as riders donned long sleeves and leg warmers to check out the course

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Fabio Silvestre picks up some speed on his test run

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Gritted teeth for the race proper

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Team Sky’s Kanstantin Siutsou wore the green points jersey for the stage 1b time trial

Credit: Chris Catchpole

Vasil Kiriyenka gets his gurn on

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Alberto Contador raced into the race lead and fourth place in the individual time trial