As he prepared to ride away from the podium area after the winner’s ceremonies in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana, Chris Froome (Team Sky) said he could not have been happier with Sky’s team time trial win and Pete Kennaugh starting off the race in the leader’s red jersey.
"I was really hoping to do a good time today, but I’m actually quite surprised we could win that,” Froome told a small group of reporters.
"Even though it was very close on Movistar, it’s great to have the time on the other teams.”
He was, he said, "surprised with how the legs felt" - but in a good way. "I did start off little bit more conservatively doing more shorter turns, then I was able to go a bit longer towards then end, doing some harder pulls."
He smiled when asked if he thought if Sky would now defend the lead, saying “Pete’s in great form, and it’d be nice for him to hold onto the jersey for as long as possible. But there’s three weeks ahead of us. Tomorrow’s a sprint stage so let’s see how it pans out.”
"We’re going to have to put our heads together and come up with a strategy.”
Either way, Sky’s initial strategy in the team time trial could hardly have been better, and Froome said that "in the last few days, we had a good look at the course here, it’s quite technical.”
"We thought a lot about how to race each part of today, and it was a big goal in terms of the overall.”
"The time trials and uphill finishes are the most decisive for GC, so this was a stage where we knew we had to be on our top game.”
As for Froome himself, he said: “Mentally, it’s put me in a great place. I’m really hoping to ride into this race, and try and stay out of trouble, hopefully I’ll find legs more in the second half."
There was no plan, though, for Kennaugh to be first rider across the line, Froome said, “but that was just how it turned out.” As for Froome, he finds himself in an ideal spot, already ahead of all of his rivals from the word go.