While Rabobank's placing in Saturday's opening team trial at the 2012 Vuelta a Espana was in some ways agonising - they led for around an hour before being beaten by Movistar, who were the last team out on the road - the result has set things up nicely for the Dutch team, who have brought a strong-looking squad to Spain.
Bauke Mollema and Robert Gesink have ambitions of making at least the top ten in the overall GC and Lars Boom and Matti Breschel will fancy their chances in the sprint stages. All nine riders proved their well being in Pamplona yesterday and it was a performance that suggested that Rabobank will be a force to be reckoned with.
When the stage ended, Rabobank was ultimately bumped from second to third place, as Vuelta organizers made a correction in the timing -- although the team thought it was at first the winner and then the second-placed.
“Second is obviously a shame, considering how long we sat on the hot seats," Mollema, who finished fourth overall at last year's Vuelta and won the points classification, told the Rabobank website.
"[But] Beforehand, you’re hoping for such a good result. We leave a lot of the most important GC riders behind us. Of course second place is a pity, considering how long we sat on the hot seat. But we started off well. This is a good place to start. It was something else to be sitting in that stadium. We saw everyone finishing below us. And when Sky rode by with a worse time, we knew we had achieved a good result. This does boost our confidence.”
Boom echoed Mollema's comments, and revealed that the team were surprised to be faster than some of the other more fancied teams, including Team Sky.
"We rode well," he said. "I did a few longer turns. That’s my job. I know what I have to do, and I did it. It was nice to sit on that hot seat, but it was really frustrating Movistar did better. Fortunately it were ten seconds and not just one. But you expect other teams like Sky to be faster, and we simply beat them. It was really nice to arrive at that stadium; there was a good atmosphere, the cheering when teams arrived. That was really nice.”