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Calamity in Castilla y León opener

Joaquin Sobrino (Burgos Monumental - Castilla y Leon)

Joaquin Sobrino (Burgos Monumental - Castilla y Leon) (Image credit: AFP)

While all the attention was on Lance Armstrong's broken collarbone and partnership with Alberto Contador, the early skirmishes of this year's Vuelta a Castilla y León have indicated it should be an explosive race.

Local rider Joaquin Sobrino took the opening stage sprint ahead of Rock Racing's David Vitoria and Caisse d'Epargne rider Jose Joaquin Rojas.

"I was the trump card for the sprint and luckily I was able to get the jump in the last curve and surprise Rojas, who had done a great job," said the Burgos Monumental - Castilla y Leon rider. "With this victory my goals for this Vuelta are fulfilled, because today I was looking at all these amazing stars: Armstrong, Contador, Valverde.. I've never ridden on a day like today before, and to win was the best."

Sobrino paid tribute to the work done during the stage by his teammate, Raúl Santamaría. "We were lucky to have a teammate in the escape of the day, Raúl Santamaría, who did a great job and allowed us to avoid working in the bunch behind."

Back in that bunch meanwhile, Lance Armstrong was a victim of the helter skelter racing, his crash resulting in a broken collarbone. Astana directeur sportif in Castilla y León, Sean Yates, said that Armstrong was obviously "disappointed" with the injuries suffered but would be back on the bike soon.

"It's hard, but not the end of the world," said Yates. "Mentally, it's not good, but in three days it will be better.

"It's disappointing because people were expecting his return, as he had said. We were climbing a ladder and a now we're a step down," he added.

"I do not know exactly how long it will take you back after the surgery," Yates explained, saying that Armstrong was returning to the United States immediately.