Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) has repeatedly insisted that he will not be fighting for the overall classification in the Vuelta a España and has even said pre-race that he might lose time deliberately in order to avoid the GC battle. However, on Saturday, Barguil did just the opposite.
In the opening team time trial, Barguil's Team Sunweb squad finished six seconds back, in third place, and ahead of Team Sky, a result which Barguil himself already described, before all the other teams had finished, as pleasing.
"I'm happy. I feel really good, but I didn't expect us to go that well, so that's great," Barguil, who won two stages of the Vuelta back in 2013 and who snapped up a brace of top climbing stages in the Tour de France, told reporters.
"We have to be satisfied. We managed to turn in a good collective performance, although we have to be careful to judge it because a lot of other teams have yet to finish.
"The goal was to do a good TT for Wilco Kelderman, who's our GC man here. Tomorrow [Sunday] will be an important day because it's possible there are echelons, and so we will have to watch out then."
Assuming Barguil and Kelderman, whose best GC placing to date is seventh in the 2014 Giro d'Italia, stay out of trouble in the crosswinds expected Sunday, they will be in an excellent position for the first Andorra stage, terrain where they will theoretically be at an advantage.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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