Vuelta: Stage 1 TTT

Miguel Angel Lopez will wear the leader’s red jersey on Sunday after his team Astana dominated the opening team time trial whilst a crash for Jumbo Visma dented their GC challenge

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Vuelta: Stage 1 TTT

Miguel Angel Lopez will wear the leader’s red jersey on Sunday after his team Astana dominated the opening team time trial of La Vuelta 19 in Torrevieja. The Kazakh team covered the 13.4km in 14’51” to overhaul Deceuninck – Quick Step by 2” and Team Sunweb by 5”.

Photo credit: Unipublic / Photogomez Sport

The young Colombian climber will enjoy a Grand Tour leader’s jersey for the first time in his career as he sets his eyes on the overall podium in Madrid. Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk lost 40” after riding through a nightmare first stage for the Dutch squad.

The 176 riders participating in La Vuelta 19 began their journey through Spain on Saturday evening with a 13.4km team time trial starting from the spectacular Salinas de Torrevieja. Dimension Data were the first to start, at 6:56 PM. They set a first reference of 15’25” and held the hot seat for about ten minutes, until CCC Team clocked 15’06”.

Jumbo-Visma crash

Another ten minutes later, Tejay Van Garderen’s EF Education First were the first to break the 15’ with a time of 14’58”. Team Sunweb rode even better: 14’56”, enough for them to finish on the podium, but not to fend off Astana (14’51”). Miguel Angel Lopez led the kazakh team through the line to claim the first red jersey as Deceuninck – Quick Step finished 2” behind them.

Jumbo-Visma were aiming for glory but their shot at glory was quickly hampered by Sepp Kuss’ mechanical inside the first kilometre. The Dutch squad was trailing by 7” in the intermediate point but they missed a curve in the second part and both Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk went down. They got back to Tony Martin, George Bennett and Robert Gesink, the only riders who didn’t crash, and lost 40” on the line.

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Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez: We did a very good time trial, all guys put a great effort today and in the end of the day everything worked out perfectly. It is our team’s success and we all are very happy with this victory. What a great day for Astana Pro Team! I am so happy with the red jersey, it was maybe a bit unexpectable for me, but now it gives me a lot of motivation. It was not planned for me to cross the line on the first position. I was sitting on the second position before the last corner, when Gorka Izagirre said me to come in front. I passed the corner and realized there were just 150 meters to go, so I just gave my all until the finish line. Indeed, this is a perfect start of La Vuelta for our team. But, this is just the beginning and the whole race is still ahead. We will keep on racing with a cold head and calm, moving through it day by day, – said Miguel Angel Lopez.

German time trial champion Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) tells his story. “We were riding at full speed towards that bend when things went sideways. There was no way to avoid it. We couldn’t react in time, and the guys in the front slipped away on the wet road surface. Luckily everyone was able to continue their ride. Now we will have to see how things go, day by day. For now this is a blow to our morale.”

Jumbo-Visma Sports director Addy Engels is also licking his wounds. “It’s far from ideal to start a grand tour like this. Just after the intermediate checkpoint there was some water on the road, which wasn’t on the road during our recon ride. As a result, half the team crashed, including our leaders Primoz and Steven. At that moment it is all over for a good result and then you need to try to ride as well as possible to the finish. We have lost precious time. We will have to assess the damage and see how we will deal with it in the coming days and weeks. We certainly had not taken this scenario into account. We were a favourite and it would have been close if we hadn’t crashed. Now we are forty seconds behind.”

Engels is disappointed by that. “Whether the injuries aren’t too bad or not, there is always damage. I have asked the organisation how this could have happened. They went to the house where the water came from. That is five hundred metres from the course, on a steep slope that goes straight onto the roundabout. There was a child playing in a inflatable plastic swimming pool that broke. As a result, according to the organisation, all of that water flooded down onto the road all of a sudden.”

Tao Geoghegan Hart: “I don’t think it went too bad. Maybe we were a bit depleted without eight riders earlier than we expected, but other than that I think it was fairly decent. That’s the reality of team time trialling on day one, there’s not any place to open up in 13km, especially going up a few little drags early on. Obviously we were trying for more but that’s bike racing. I think everyone will quietly have a bit more of an idea about their legs tomorrow with so much climbing on the stage. In two or three days then it’s definitely on from there on in.”

Owain Doull: “It was solid on the pedals, technical, up and down and hot – pretty much everything you’d expect from a TTT at the Vuelta. I felt really good but this is also my bread and butter from a team pursuit background. It’s probably closer to a team pursuit than an individual time trial. Overall we had a really strong team and we used the guys when they needed to be used. It was a nice lung-opener before it all kicks off tomorrow.

“The team have been really good with me. They said we want to bring you here for the experience and to develop. There’s not heaps of pressure on me but there are a few days where I’m expected to do my job and do it well. Then past that just learn, get through it and try to be as good as possible in the last week.”

Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) “I think it was a solid performance, I was on the limit so it means that we did good,” joked Wilco Kelderman at the finish. “We made a few small mistakes but in the end we did a pretty good team time trial. In the finale we were able to use Max and Casper really well, because with their explosiveness they were able to help us accelerate out of the corners in the technical sections. It was a good performance from the whole team.”

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Vuelta Stage 1 TTT
1 Astana 4:51
2 Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 2 secs
3 Sunweb @ 5
4 EF Education @ 7
5 Bora – Hansgrohe @ 13
6 CCC @ 15
7 Movistar @ 16
8 FDJ @
9 Michleton /Scott @ 18
10 Lotto-Soudal @ 19
11 Ineos @ 25
12 Bahrain-Merida @ 26
13 Katusha-Alpecin @ 33
14 Dimension Data @ 34
15 Trek Segafredo @ 35
16 Caja Rural @ 37
17 AG2r
18 Jumbo Visma @ 40
19 Cofidis @ 43
20 Euskadi @ 46
21 UAE @ 1.07
22 Burgos @ 1.22

1. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team 14:51
2. Dario Cataldo Astana Pro Team @ 00
3. Jakob Fuglsang Astana Pro Team @ 00
4. Ion Izagirre Astana Pro Team @ 00
5. Luis León Sánchez Astana Pro Team @ 00
6. Gorka Izagirre Astana Pro Team @ 00
7. Philippe Gilbert Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 02
8. Fabio Jakobsen Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 02
9. Zdenek Stybar Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 02
10. Maximiliano Richeze Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 02

11. James Knox Deceuninck – Quick Step @ 02
19. Hugh Carthy EF Education First @ 07
20. Rigoberto Uran EF Education First @ 07
38. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team @ 16
48. Esteban Chaves Mitchelton – Scott @ 18
61. Owain Doull Team Ineos @ 25
62. Tao Geoghegan Hart Team Ineos @ 25
99. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma @ 40


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