By Susan Westemeyer
Rabobank's Graeme Brown won the first stage of the Vuelta a Murcia and took the first leader's jersey by doing something he could not have done two years ago, according to team leader Frans Maassen. "The course was not as heavy as indicated by the course profile, but it was still extremely tricky. Graeme would not have been able to do this two years ago. Now he knows how to ride up a hill and he is also a master in riding in an echelon, which was very useful today because of the hard winds."
Maassen praised the whole team for contributing to the Australian sprinter's success. Denis Menchov and Tom Leezer prepared the sprint, while Dmitry Kozontchouk and Jan Boven "worked to keep the two escapees within arm's length. It was very tense up to the end because those two rode tremendously," Maassen said on the team's website, rabobank.nl.
"Our starting point was to win a victory, and now we have done that already," he noted, and hoped for more. "I said before we started that we would have to strike in the first, third, or fifth stage. Tomorrow there will certainly not be a mass sprint, but there will be on Thursday."