Only minor gaps between the GC contenders after opening team time trial

BMC Racing emerged victorious from the opening team time trial of the 2017 Vuelta a España as Rohan Dennis took the first leader’s red jersey of the race.

The American team looked smooth throughout the technical 13.7km course, avoiding any crashes which affected a number of other teams.

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BMC Racing were the only team to go under 16 minutes, with Rohan Dennis leading them across the line in a time that was six seconds faster than Quick-Step Floors.

As for the GC contenders, there were few major gaps, with Chris Froome and Team Sky losing just nine seconds. Fabio Aru was the only red jersey contender to lose significant time, as Astana finished in 16th place, 41 seconds behind BMC.

How it happened

The 2017 Vuelta a España started with Colombian Professional Continental team Manzana Postobon rolling down the red start ramp in the centre of the French city of Nîmes.

The second division team consisting largely of climbers were never going to set the team time trial alight, crossing the line in a time of 16-51, a benchmark which only lasted until the next team, Lotto-Soudal, finished a few minutes later in 16-22.

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That time stood for a long time, holding off the likes of Aqua Blue Sport and FDJ, before Bora-Hansgrohe went three seconds faster, team leader Rafal Majka leading them across the line.

However Bora’s best time lasted for less than ten minutes as Team Sunweb went faster. The German team set the fastest time at the intermediate split and got even faster through the second half of the course to finish in a time of 16-04.

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The next major team to cross the line was the three-time and defending team time trial world champions Quick-Step Floors. Only three of the six riders who won gold in Qatar in 2016 were on the start line in Nîmes, but that was no problem for such a well-drilled squad, who eventually crossed the line less than a second faster than Sunweb.

BMC Racing were on a flyer as they approached the finish with six riders remaining. The American team went six seconds faster than Quick-Step Floors, Rohan Dennis leading them across the line.

BMC Racing were the first team to go under 16 minutes, and with only a handful of teams to finish, that time was going to take some beating. One team that has form in team time trials is Orica-Scott, however the Australian team were unable to challenge, coming home 17 seconds down.

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Movistar couldn’t challenge either, and neither could Team Sky who crossed the line nine seconds behind BMC Racing to put Chris Froome in an ideal position in GC.

The final team to cross the line were Trek-Segafredo, who looked ragged as they became split up in the final stage, eventually finishing outside the top 10.

That meant that the stage win went to BMC Racing, with Dennis taking the leader’s red jersey into Sunday’s 203.4km stage from Nîmes to Gruissan.

Results

Vuelta a España 2017, stage one: Nîmes to Nîmes (TTT), 13.7km

1. BMC Racing, in 15-58
2. Quick Step-Floors, at 6 secs
3. Team Sunweb, at 6 secs
4. Team Sky, at 9 secs
5. Orica-Scott, at 17 secs
6. Bora-Hansgrohe, at 21 secs
7. Lotto-Soudal, at 24 secs
8. Movistar, at 24 secs
9. Bahrain-Merida, at 31 secs
10. Katusha-Alpecin, at 33 secs

General classification after stage one

1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing, in 15-58