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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Pros reflect after a wet and slippery day in the Netherlands
During the opening stage of the Vuelta a España, some riders got to compete on relatively dry roads before a mid-stage downpour made conditions wet and slippery for the rest.
Races completed a 4.5km prologue to kick off the Spanish Grand Tour in Assen, The Netherlands. Below, several riders share their reactions after the prologue time trial.
Ex-track cyclist Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil) - 4th
"Since the beginning of the season I looked forward to this. I hoped for top-five but didn't expect it. It was a great atmosphere, and in the upcoming days, we aim to help Borut Bozic in bunch sprints."
GC contender Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) - 9th
"I am personally satisfied with my time. I started really fast and went on the same way till the last meter!"
"The course was really made for pure (prologue) specialists, and it is a fact that Fabian Cancellara, who is so powerful and also in wonderful shape right now was absolutely unbeatable today. He was the number one favorite and nobody was able to defeat him."
"I finished this time trial more or less in the position I intended and lost no time compared to my rivals. It will be important to be careful in the next three stages, which can be very dangerous ones because of narrow streets and lots of roundabouts on the course and because the wind can separate the bunch into several groups. Nobody will win the Vuelta in Holland, but somebody could lose plenty of time."
Ignas Konovalovas (Cervélo TestTeam), 18th
"I didn't feel anything special today. I was just turning the pedals."
Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 23rd after being an early race leader
"The truth is that I'm starting the Vuelta with a good feeling . I was lucky to race on roads that were quite dry, although the winds bothered me when I was trying to keep my bike straight.
In this type of time trial, I tend to do well. I got second in the Paris-Nice prologue behind Hushovd. For awhile I had the best time today, and I enjoyed sitting on the podium facing the nearly 50,000 specators who gathered to watch the circuit. The response from the crowded grandstand was spectacular."
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 29th
"I made a positive assessment of my results in the time trial. I set a time similar to those of my rivals for the overall standings. It was really windy, and a couple of times I caught air.
I had all the weight on my front wheel and gusts of wind gave me a scare when they caught my rear wheel. I was pedalling a few times with my rear wheel in the air.
Dominique Rollin (Cervélo) in his first Grand Tour - 60th
"I could feel my back wheel slipping in every corner. I lost seconds when I had to slow down for the corners."
Giro d'Italia stage winner Simon Gerrans (Cervélo) - 104th
"I had a super-good feeling, but when I was racing, it was raining, so I couldn't risk too much."
José Ángel Gómez Marchante (Cervélo TestTeam) - 110th
"The first stage, I felt good despite the weather. The track was wet, so I preferred not to take risks in the corners. Now that this stage is done, I will worry about spending the other early stages in the Netherlands and Belgium on windy and narrow roads.