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Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2014: Prologue

Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol.

Hello and welcome to today's live coverage from Spain. Today's action comes from the opening stage, a 7.3km test against the clock.

Weather wise we have blue skies and sunshine for the riders.

In the finish house Edvald Boasson Hagen currently leads with his Team Sky teammate Peter Kennaugh in second place.

Bradley Wiggins, Richie Porte, Alejandro Valverde all start later on today, with all the riders setting off at one-minute intervals. In terms of the course, it's flat, mostly, with a late rise towards the finish.

Valverde won the corresponding stage last year of course, edging out Spilak and Tyler Farrar. It will be a much harder race to win today for the Spaniard though.

Of course the race, all racing in fact today, has been overshaddowed by the tragic news that

(IAM Cycling) was killed while out training on Tuesday. Everyone at Cyclingnews would like to wish their sincere condolences to the rider's family and friends.

Daniel Navarro has just finished his ride but doesn't trouble the leader, who is Javier Moreno (Movistar).

Laurens ten Dam finishes outside of the top few places but now we have Vasil Kiryienka in the lead with a time of 8:35.

As Kessiakoff comes over the line in 8th place. A frantic sprint to the line from the Astana man but it's not enough to challenge for the stage.

Technique is going to be crucial today, with the high number of corners and turns throughout the course. As Jaco Venter starts his ride.

Davide Rebellin is here. 42 years old but still within the pro peloton and in decent form at the moment.

In other news, Tom Steels has come out and said that Mark Cavendish is still the fastest sprinter in the world. The Manx missle has a chance to repay that faith today on stage one of Algarve. He lines up with both Renshaw and Petacchi with him.

Jens Voigt is now on the startline. A few years ago he would have been a contender for a day like today as David Arroyo churns a huge gear towards the finish.

Kiryienka still leads though, the former Worlds TT medalist having set the quickest time today.

There are a couple of major holes in the ground just before the line. A CCC rider almost falls as he comes home.

 

Arroyo looks pretty comfortable out there now, the former Giro d'Italia leader now has Luis Leon Sanchez as a teammate of course. The latter if the only Spaniard to win a race so far this year.

Arroyo comes home in 68th place.

Miguel Minguez is now in the start house.

Wiggins sets off in around ten minutes from now.

Lars Peter Nordhaug finishes in 18th place.

Mollema is also here, and with ten Dam is making his European debut this season. Geraint Thomas comes over the line and he takes second place.

A number of riders on road bikes today, mostly from the smaller teams rather that the bigger budget worldTour squads as Jens Voigt comes over the line.

Simon Geschke takes fourth at the line.

Bart De Clercq finishes with a strong time, just five seconds off the leader and in fifth place.

Bert-Jan Lindeman from the Rabobank Development team finishes in 17th place.

Hofland now starts his time trial and takes the first fwo corners out of the saddle as he sprints into each one.

And now it's Wiggins who rolls down the ramp. A very fast start from the former Tour de France winner.

Straight into that tuck position for the Sky rider as he heads down a very short downhill section. The man with the task of chasing him is Haimer Zubeldia.

Wiggins is now in full flight. He started his season in Mallorca last week, while Froome is racing at the moment in Oman. There are no intermediate time checks though so we won't know if Wiggins is on track until he approaches the line.

He looks rapid though. Smooth and relaxed, with a slower cadence than perhaps last year.

Aleksey Lutsenko takes a tumble, taking a corner too quickly. He's up and runing again though.

Kiryienka finished in a time of 8:35 of course and still holds the lead.

Wiggins out of the saddle once more as he races up a bridge, but is quickly back into the saddle as he reaches the next flat section.

Wiggins looks down on his teammate.

Wiggins is going for it, but he might not take the lead.

Wiggins is third, behind Kiryienka and Thomas, one second down.

Sky could have 1-4 today if Porte can do the business later on. Valverde might be the only man who can stop them.

Zubeldia takes a top ten place but he can't break the Sky monopoly at the top of the standings.

So it looks like Sky could take the top three positions today as Teklehaimanot starts his time trial.

But Izagirre comes over the line and take the lead for Movistar. A storming ride from the Spaniard.

And now it's Luis Leon Sanchez on the road. The Spaniard, dropped by Belkin last year has a bit of a point to prove this season and he's out of the saddle from the start.

Now it's Mollema, adjusting his skin suit, and then pushing off from the start ramp.

A new TT bike of course for Mollema and his Belkin team who are on Bianchi's this year.

Now Richie Porte, who of course raced so well in the Tour Down Under is off. The Australian is focused on the Giro d'Italia this season but he'll want to lay down a marker today.

The Belgian time trial champion Kristof Vandewalle is next to start.

Porte, down on the TT bars, and looking good at the moment. He doesnt have the typical frame of a time trial rider but he's able to create enough power.

A number of riders are using the start ramp to line themselves up for the first corner, hugging the left hand side of the road as they swing right for the first bend. Scarponi, who now starts, follows that pattern.

Monfort now starts, and we have just Valverde to come.

Luis Leon Sanchez comes over the line and is 8 seconds down. Not a bad time for the experienced Spanish rider.

Mate, who I think has shaved off that long pony tail comes over the line. He hasn't troubled the leaders at all today though.

And now Mollema is heading to the finish.

Well down, 26 seconds down for the Belkin rider.

As the cameras now turn to Porte. Can he take the lead?

No. He takes 6th at 6 seconds. So that's four Sky riders in the top ten but they've missed out on the top step today.

Valverde caught the moto in the roundabout and had to pass him but the Spaniard is going to have to really push if he's to win today.

Tom Dumoulin has come in with the fastest time, two seconds faster than the next man.

He's a decent time trialist is Tom Dumoulin but this would be a big win for him given the field.

Valverde sweeps around a right hand corner as Scarponi comes over the line 35 seconds down.

Monfort will finish outside of the top 35 so it's all on Valverde now.

It's going to be very close

And he's done it. Valverde takes the lead and the win by a massive seven seconds.

Sky finish outside the top three today with Valverde, Tom Dumoulin and then Izagirre. A short distance so the contenders are still within touching distance but that's a big winning margin for Valverde.

1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
3 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky

Thanks for joining us today. Tune in for more coverage tomorrow.

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