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Vuelta a España 2012: Stage 1

Welcome to our live coverage of the opening stage of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana. The season's final grand tour starts in the northern city of Pamplona with a team time trial. The first team will be out on the road at 6:03pm UK time.

The teams will face a 16.2km course this evening, which should mean that there won't be huge time gaps between the winners and those in last place. The first half of the course is extremely fast, with the second half considerably more technical through the streets of Pamplona.

Here are the start times for all 22 teams. Times are all local (CET):

 

1 Caja Rural 19:03
2 Orica-GreenEdge 19:07
3 Garmin-Sharp 19:11
4 BMC 19:15
5 Liquigas-Cannondale 19:19
6 Lampre-ISD 19:23
7 RadioShack-Nissan 19:27
8 FDJ-BigMat 19:31
9 Ag2R-La Mondiale 19:35
10 Andalucia 19:39
11 Rabobank 19:43
12 Omega Pharma-Quick Step 19:47
13 Vacansoleil-DCM 19:51
14 Astana 19:55
15 Euskaltel-Euskadi 19:59
16 Lotto Belisol 20:03
17 Katusha 20:07
18 Cofidis 20:11
19 Argos-Shimano 20:15
20 Team Sky 20:19
21 Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 20:23
22 Movistar 20:27

Of course the big story at this year's Vuelta is the appearance of local hero Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank). He was forced to miss the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the London 2012 Olympic Games due to his doping-related suspension. He will be looking to end 2012 on a high and secure his second Vuelta victory following his win in 2008.

The Spaniard won't have things all his own way though. His biggest threat could come from Chris Froome (Sky) who finished second in last year's Vuelta and repeated the feat at this year's Tour de France. After riding in Bradley Wiggins' shadow for much of the last 18 months, he is the team's undisputed number one here.

It's absolutely scorching in Pamplona at the moment. The thermometer has pushed 40 degrees Celsius this afternoon and even as we approach 7pm local time it's still in the mid 30s.

And Caja Rural are on the start line waiting to go. Not too long now...

Plenty of fans in attendance, basking in the sunshine...

And we're off. Caja Rural get the 2012 Vuelta a Espana underway...

We're looking at around 18 or 19 minutes per team for this course. So estimated finish time is around 19:45 UK time, or 20:45 local time.

And the next team on the start line are Orica-GreenEdge. They have sent a team of youth and experience here. Four of them are making their grand tour debuts.

First time split comes at 10.2km, which will give us the first indication of progress.

It's now the turn of Garmin-Sharp. Andrew Talansky is in their ranks here, and he warmed up for the Vuelta in the best possible way by winning the Tour De L'Ain earlier this month.

And next off are BMC. They will be looking for a better start here than they had in the team time trial at the recent Eneco Tour, which was a catastrophe. Philippe Gilbert still hasn't had a stage win this year and will be looking to break his duck here.

And Liquigas-Cannondale are off and racing...

Through the first time checkpoint, Orica-GreenEdge are 30 seconds quicker than Caja Rural. Not really a surprise there.

We've got some great pictures from yesterday's team presentation. Check out our gallery right here.

And Garmin are one second faster than GreenEdge through the first checkpoint in 9:29.

Caja Rural have crossed the finish line. They are the first to complete the course in a time of 20:22...

Disaster for Garmin after they crash badly towards the finish...

And GreenEdge are the new leaders. They are almost a minute quicker than Caja Rural after finishing in 19:29.

RadioShack-Nissan have just started. They won the team classification at the Tour de France last month.

Garmin really struggling after that crash. They still have the crucial five riders together, but they will have lost some time on Orica-GreenEdge.

BMC are the new leaders through the first checkpoint...

Garmin have finished in 20:19. 50 seconds slower than GreenEdge.

Lampre-ISD are over 20 seconds down in the first phase.

BMC are into the lead after finishing in a time of 19:03. Gilbert led them over the line. Much more like it after the Eneco Tour debacle.

Still 35 degrees Celsius here in Pamplona. Going to be just as hot tomorrow and will be a real test for the riders.

Lampre finish in 19:45. Not a good start by them. They are a team renowned for their time trial prowess.

Rabobank have just started. They have one of the strongest teams at this year's Vuelta and will be looking to get off to a solid start. Gesink, Mollema, Breschel and Boom can all make their mark here.

Fifth place for RadioShack-Nissan as they finish in a time of 19:46.

AG2R-La Mondiale are only nine seconds down on BMC's time at the first checkpoint.

Sixth place for FDJ-BigMat. They finish in a time of 19:48, which is 47 seconds behind BMC.

BMC's time of 19:03 is looking very strong indeed. Nobody have got near them yet with half the teams either finished or out on the road.

Second place for AG2R-LaMondiale. They finish 23 seconds behind BMC. Great effort by the French team.

Both Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Quick Step have gone faster than BMC in the first sector.

The race officials have changed BMC's time from 19:03 to 19:01.

Andalucia break the 20-minute marker, finishing in 19:51. Fellow Spanish team Euskaltel-Euskadi have just started.

And we have new leaders. Rabobank have completed the course in one second quicker than BMC.

The last team to go out will be Movistar. This is because last year's winner, Juan Jose Cobo, rides for them.

Astana have also gone off very quickly. They are in second place through the first checkpoint, just three seconds down on Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

And Omega Pharma-Quick Step are the first team to break the 19-minute mark. They take over at the top in a time of 18:59.

And it looks like the organisers have now rounded up their time. So they are joint leaders with Rabobank on 19:00.

19:24 for Vacansoleil-DCM. Puts them into the top five.

Cofidis have just started. One of their squad, David Moncoutie, is chasing his fourth consecutive victory in the KOM classification at the Vuelta.

19:23 for Astana. They couldn't keep up their pace from the opening half of the race. They finished in single file as well, which cost them an extra couple of seconds.

Katusha third at the first checkpoint, only four seconds off the lead.

That's great for Joaquim Rodriguez, who could be one rider that could split Froome and Contador.

And speaking of Froome, him and his Sky colleagues are now on the road. Only two more teams to go here - Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank and Movistar.

19:02 for Lotto Belisol. Fourth place, despite only being two seconds off the pace. Exciting stuff here.

Huge cheers for Alberto Contador as Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank get underway.

Clearly his ban has had no effect on his huge popularity in his homeland.

19:05 for Katusha. Puts them in fifth place. Very close at the top.

And that's it - Movistar are off and racing. That's all the teams either finished or on the road.

Big cheers for Movistar too. No surprise with Cobo and Valverde in their ranks.

Sky have set the fastest first phase in a time of 9:08. They are five seconds quicker than anyone else, with just Saxo Bank and Movistar to follow them.

Cofidis finish in 12th place...

Contador doing a big stint on the front here for his team...

And it's working - they are only four seconds off Sky's pace through the first sector.

Movistar only two seconds behind Sky. These last three teams on the road have all started very well. We'll see if they can maintain their pace.

And Sky lose a bit of time on the second half of the course. They finish in 19:04, which puts them in fourth place. Rabobank still in the lead...

Just the two teams left on the road. Saxo Bank approaching the final km. Can they topple Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Quick Step?

And they finish in 19:06. Just five seconds covering the first seven teams at the top of the standings.

And once again the organisers have changed the times. Rabobank, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and BMC are all being given 19:01.

Looking good for Movistar here...

And Movistar take the win in a time of 18:51 - ten seconds faster than anyone else. Incredible performance. Crowd going beserk here.

RESULTS - STAGE ONE (TTT)

 

1 Movistar 18:51
2 Rabobank +0:10
3 Omega Pharma-QuickStep +0:10
4 BMC Racing Team +0:10
5 Sky +0:12
6 Lotto-Belisol +0:12
7 Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank +0:15
8 Katusha +0:15
9 Euskaltel-Euskadi +0:27
10 Astana +0:32
11 AG2R La Mondiale +0:33
12 Vacansoleil-DCM +0:33
13 Orica-GreenEdge +0:34
14 Liquigas-Cannondale +0:43
15 Cofidis +0:46
16 Lampre-ISD +0:55
17 RadioShack-Nissan +0:55
18 FDJ-BigMat +0:58
19 Argos-Shimano +0:58
20 Andalucia +1:01
21 Garmin-Sharp +1:28
22 Caja Rural +1:28

 

 

So a brilliant win for Movistar in Pamplona. They were the last team out but they won comfortably by a margin of ten seconds over the relatively short course. It gave the home fans plenty to shout about and is excellent start for the team, who have stage wins and GC ambitions on their minds this week. Just five seconds separated the teams from second to eighth place.

 

We'll have a full report, results and photos right here as soon as we get them through.

 

And don't forget to join us tomorrow for live coverage of the first proper road stage. It's a gentle introduction for the riders with just the one categorised climb, but with temperatures set to hit 40 degrees Celsius, it won't be a walk in the park for them.

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