Rally Cycling started the 2016 season Thursday at La Méditerranéenne in Spain with an opening team time trial, finishing in the middle of the 16-team field that is contesting the four-day UCI 2.1 race.
FDJ won the 5.5km race against the clock that took place around the Olympic Lake in Banyoles, covering the course in six minutes flat. Astana was second fastest on the day, coming in half a second slower, while Direct Energie claimed the final podium spot at eight seconds back.
Rally started in slightly rainy and cold conditions. The course was slick, resulting in a couple close calls through the tight corners – especially with 2013 US time trial champion Tom Zirbel driving the pace in the treacherous conditions. The team crossed the line with a time of 6:18 in eighth place. Knowing that a team time trial would be their first race of the season, Rally Cycling prepared with extensive TTT practice at their California training camp.
"Today was a difficult task for the team," said Rally Performance Manager Jonas Carney. "The guys just arrived in Europe two days ago. It’s not ideal for the first race of the season to be a technical 5.5km team time trial in the rain. However, the guys posted a very respectable time against some of the strongest teams in Europe. It shows that we prepared well for this event and we will be looking to improve over the next three stages."
New Rally recruit Danny Pate - formerly of Team Sky - crossed the line first and will carry the team's general classification hopes into the next three stages, along with fellow newcomers Rob Britton and Evan Huffman, both of whom rode for Team SmartStop last year.