Vuelta a España 2020: Chris Froome and Thibaut Pinot lose time on day one 

Some big names fell out of overall contention on the first day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chris Froome and Thibaut Pinot are out of contention for the 2020 Vuelta a España after losing time on stage one.

The Spanish Grand Tour opened with a bang as riders took on a 173km stage in the Basque Country, finishing atop the Alto de Arrate.  

As the reigning Vuelta champion Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) rode to a commanding stage victory, some of the biggest names in the race fell casualty to a brutal first stage. 

Froome was dropped on the penultimate climb of the day, as his Ineos Grenadiers team set a fierce pace on the front for their leader Richard Carapaz.  

>>> Five talking points from stage one of the Vuelta a España 2020

Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was also dropped on the same climb, as his Grand Tour hopes crumbled for the second time this year after his failed Tour de France bid. 

The Frenchman finished the stage in 63rd place, 9-56 down on the stage winner, while Froome was not far behind in 72nd, 11-12 off the pace. 

This year’s Vuelta a España exploded on only the first day of racing, with Roglič, Carapaz, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Esteban Chaves emerging as the strongest. 

Others to fall behind on the final climb include Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), Alejandro Valerde (Movistar) and Wout Poels (Bahrain-McLaren), who each lost at least a minute by the summit of the 5km-long, 8.5 per cent average Alto de Arrate.

Froome lost contact with the main group around 16km from the finish on the Elgata climb (2.9km at 8.8 per cent), but very briefly managed to regain contacted before his team-mates ramped up the pace to try and set up Carapaz for the stage.  

The two-time Vuelta winner said he was hoping to support Carapaz as he was still unsure about his own form after his awful crashed at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné. Froome sounded positive after the race saying he hoped to continue building into better form throughout the race.

"For me personally I got a bit caught out coming into the penultimate climb, started pretty far back and got stuck behind the crahs at the bottom there," Froome said at the finish of stage one.

"But I'm really happy to be here, really happy to be racing a Grand Tour after two years of not doing any Grand Tours and I'm just going to take the race day by day and keep trying to do us much for the team as I can throughout the race.

"Sensations were good, I think I still miss a little bit of that top-end from not having raced much but definitely an improvement and hope to keep building throughout the race."

Pinot had hoped to challenge for the 2020 Tour de France, but fell out of contention in the first week, finally finishing 29th in Paris.

His hopes of a consolation prize at the Vuelta fell away on stage one.  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.