Movistar won the opening team time trial stage of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana on Saturday.
Jonathan Castroviejo was the first of Movistar’s riders to cross the line, meaning he will wear the overall leader’s jersey in tomorrow’s first road stage.
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The Movistar team were the last to set out and blew away all the previous times on the technical course in Jerez, beating Cannondale by six seconds.
Cannondale had led for much of the day, and, having held of team time trial specialists Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Orica-GreenEdge – the latter by the slender margin of just 0.1 seconds – looked as though they’re time was not to be beaten.
But Movistar have brought a very strong team with them to Spain, and their quality showed in their race-winning ride.
Sky finished down in eleventh place, 27 seconds behind Movistar, and may be disappointed to concede so much time to their Spanish rivals. Chris Froome and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana have been tipped as two of the favourites for the race, and the half a minute lost by the Brit puts him immediately on the back foot.
Tinkoff-Saxo also produced a somewhat underwhelming ride to finish eighth place at 19 seconds, and may have hoped for better to support their leader Alberto Contador’s GC challenge.
Among those GC favourites to have also lost time today are Thibaut Pinot, whose FDJ team finished 45 seconds behind, and Garmin’s trio of Ryder Hesjedal, Andrew Talansky and Dan Martin, who all lose 41 seconds.
On a short but technical course, most teams timed their effort so that the minimum requirement of five riders reached the line together, although such was Movistar’s strength that they reached the finishing straight with their entire roster still together.
One team to have slightly misjudged their efforts was Orica-GreenEdge, whose fifth rider, Esteban Chaves, lost his teammate’s wheel briefly in the final few hundred metres. The train had to slow down, which ultimately cost them second place.
There were no unfortunate incidents for any of the teams in the stage itself, but Trek Factory Racing’s did all suffer a crash in the warm up.
Vuelta a Espana 2014, stage one: Jerez de la Frontera, 12.6km TTT
1. Movistar (Spa) in 0-14-13
2. Cannondale (Ita) at 6 secs
3. Orica-GreenEdge (Aus) at st
4. Trek Factory-Racing (USA) at 9 secs
5. Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Bel) at 11 secs
6. Giant-Shimano (Ned) at 16 secs
7. Belkin (Ned) at 19 secs
8. Tinkoff-Saxo (Den) at st
9. BMC (USA) at 21 secs
10. Lampre-Merida (Ita) at 25 secs
11. Team Sky (GBr) at 27 secs
Overall Classification after stage one
1. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar in 0-14-13
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
3. Andrey Amador (CR) Movistar
4. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar
5. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
7. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
8. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar
9. Jose Herrada (Spa) Movistar all same time
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 6 secs
Images from the opening team time trial of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana. Photos by Graham Watson
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