Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) finished fourth in the first race of the Open de España in Albeda de Iregua, Spain on Sunday. Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Orbea) won by 58 seconds over Martí Gispert Labarta (ECP-Tau Ceramica) and Ivan Alvarez Gutiérrez (KTM) placed third.
Hermida, who was contesting his first cross country race of the season, said he felt very comfortable on his new "ninety-six" bike. Throughout the race, he stayed near Ivan Álvarez, with the pair riding a constant pace, but it was Álvarez who won the sprint for third.
"I am satisfied with my fourth position of today," said Hermida on his website. "It was the first race of the season and [I] could not go to the maximum. It has been a race in which I have gone with a constant and soft pace. The important thing is to have good feelings, and I have had them." Hermida has planned a step by step increase in his fitness as he gears up for the World Cups and Olympic Games.