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The Katusha team in the Vuelta a España
Rodríguez concedes 38 seconds to Movistar duo of Quintana and Valverde
Joaquín Rodríguez's ambition for overall Vuelta a España victory suffered a setback on the opening stage of the 2014 edition as his Katusha team conceded 38 seconds to Movistar in the team time trial.
Rodríguez will start stage 2 behind almost all of the GC favourites but with a slight advantage on the Garmin-Sharp trio of Ryder Hesjedal, Andrew Talansky and Dan Martin.
"We knew it was not a stage for us because our roster consists of climbers. We didn't expect too much today as our purpose for today was to minimize our losses," team director José Azevedo said after the and technical 12.6km stage in Jerez de la Frontera featured 17 roundabouts.
Azevedo added that while it wasn't ideal to have conceded over 30 seconds to Nairo Quintana and Valverde (Movistar) with 20 stages to come and bonus seconds as well, there would be plenty of opportunities for Rodríguez to reverse the time loss.
"With the exception of Movistar all teams are close to one another and the gaps are minimal - around of 15 - 20 seconds," he said of the time gaps. "We are not far from the others and this is the main objective of the stage. The race has just begun and all things are still ahead."
The Vuelta's second stage starts in Algeciras and ends in San Fernando 174,4km later on a flat course that is expected to feature strong winds but be decided in sprint finish.