The Nîmes time trial will be very technical. Teams will have to ride through the streets in the old part of the city, right through the heart of historic buildings. Coordination and synchronization will be key from the very beginning. With a flat route, the Vuelta’s first stage should be a pure test of time trial horsepower.
BMC Racing storms to opening TTT win at La Vuelta
BMC Racing stormed to the win on the opening team time trial stage of the 2017 Vuelta a España on Saturday in Nîmes. The team completed the 13.7km (8.4mi) course in 15:58, the only team to cover the distance under 16-minutes. Rohan Dennis led the squad across the line and thus will be the first rider to wear the red leader’s jersey.
“Everything went as we had planned,” Dennis said after the stage. “We got a little nervous when we saw Sky coming in. I thought it might come down right to the line, but in the end, we were the strongest team. We executed it perfectly.
“It was a very technical circuit, and we did everything we could to win. We demonstrated our strength in the team time trials. It’s a great feeling to have the red leader’s jersey. It’s special, but I also recognize that the entire team deserves it. That’s the only bad thing about a team time trial, is that only one person gets to wear the leader’s jersey when it’s an entire team effort.”
Quick-Step Floors and Team Sunweb both stopped the clock in 16:04, taking home second and third on the stage.
Chris Froome’s Vuelta quest got off to a solid start, as Team Sky finished in fourth place on the day with a time of 16:07.
How it happened
The 72nd edition of La Vuelta a España began not in its native country of Spain, but across the border in the French town Nîmes. The 13.7km (8.4mi) opening team team trial stage was mostly flat with only a small gradual climb midway through the course. The route also traveled through the Roman Amphitheater in Nîmes.
Lotto Soudal, the second team to roll off the start ramp, set the early benchmark with a time of 16:22. Their time withstood for a little while as FDJ, Aqua Blue Sport, and Team Dimension Data all finished within a second of each other, albeit 14 seconds behind the time of Lotto Soudal.
BORA-hansgrohe bested Lotto Soudal by three seconds, stopping the clock in 16:19. However, their time in the hot seat would be short-lived, as Team Sunweb powered across the line with a time of 16:04. The team began the day highly motivated with French sensation Warren Barguil among their squad.
Quick-Step Floors spoiled a fantastic start for Team Sunweb by finishing ahead by less than a second. At this point though, BMC Racing was on course.
The team of American Tejay van Garderen, BMC Racing, motored along the course like a well-oiled machine and became the first and only team to stop the clock under the 16-minute mark with a time of 15:58.
Team Sky looked to contest the time of BMC Racing, but inside the finishing straight Ian Stannard lost contact with the squad, costing the team precious seconds. Froome’s squad finished in 16:07 and put the Briton in prime position, as he tries to win the first Vuelta of his career.
Contador’s final race of a professional got off to a roaring start, as his Trek-Segafredo team left the start ramp to loud cheers. However, there would be no storybook start for the Spaniard. Contador and company would stop the clock in 16:33, losing 35 seconds to BMC Racing. More importantly, he lost nearly 30-seconds to Froome.
“We wanted to stay safe, but 25 seconds is quite a bit of time, and it’s never good to start off from behind,” Contador said after the stage. “We are going day to day, and we tried the best we could. Now to recover because tomorrow will be complicated.
“It was a dangerous course. We saw it this morning, and a few riders crashed from other teams in the warm-up. We didn’t want to take too many risks. Since we arrived here in Nimes, the reaction from the fans has just been in credible. I came here with two objectives; the first is to fight for the win, and the other is to enjoy the race. ”
La Vuelta continues Sunday with a transition stage in France. The riders will tackle 203.4km (126.4mi) on stage two and travel from Nîmes to Gruissan. Grand Narbonne. Aude. The route traverses the coast, so crosswinds may play a factor.
Stage 1 results
1. BMC, in 15:58.
2. Quick-Step, at 0:06.
3. Sunweb, at 0:06.
4. Sky, at 0:09.
5. Orica, at 0:17.
6. Bora-Hansgrohe, at 0:21.
7. Lotto-Soudal, at 0:24.
8. Movistar, at 0:24.
9. Bahrain-Merida, at 0:31.
10. Katusha-Alpecin, at 0:33.
11. Trek-Segafredo, at 0:35.
12. FDJ, at 0:38.
13. Aqua Blue, at 0:38.
14. Dimension Data, at 0:39.
15. LottoNL-Jumbo, at 0:40.
16. Astana, at 0:41.
17. Cannondale, at 0:46.
18. AG2R La Mondiale, at 0:46.
19. UAE Team Emirates, at 0:47.
20. Manzana Postobón, at 0:53.
21. Caja Rural, at 0:56.
22. Cofidis, at 0:57.
1. Rohan Dennis (AUS/BMC), in 15:58.
2. Daniel Oss (ITA/BMC), at 0:00.
3. Nicolas Roche (IRL/BMC), at 0:00.
4. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/BMC), at 0:00.
5. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC), at 0:00.
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC), at 0:00.
7. Yves Lampaert (BEL/QST), at 0:06.
8. David De La Cruz (ESP/QST), at 0:06.
9. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST), at 0:06.
10. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST), at 0:06.
11. Matteo Trentin (ITA/QST), at 0:06.
12. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN/SUN), at 0:06.
13. Sam Oomen ((NED/SUN), at 0:06.
14. Wilco Kelderman (NED/SUN), at 0:06.
15. Lennard Kämna (GER/SUN), at 0:06.
full results to follow