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Vuelta a España 2014: Stage 1


Welcome to live coverage of the opening team time trial at the Vuelta a Espana.

So here it is, the final Grand Tour of the year the Vuelta a Espana and we kick things off with a 12.6km evening team time trial.

We're a little over 30 minutes from the start of the stage, with MTN-Qhubeka the first team to roll off the start ramp at 19:04 local time. Movistar will be the last to go at 20:28. Here are all the start times for the team time trial.


1. MTN - Qhubeka 19:04
2. Cofidis 19:08
3. Team Europcar 19:12
4. Team Giant - Shimano 19:16
5. AG2R La Mondiale 19:20
6. Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 19:24
7. IAM Cycling 19:28
8. Orica GreenEdge 19:32
9. Cannondale Pro Cycling 19:36
10. 19:40
11. Lampre - Merida 19:44
12. BMC Racing Team 19:48
13. Trek Factory Racing 19:52
14. Belkin Pro Cycling Team 19:56
15. Garmin Sharp 20:00
16. Lotto Belisol 20:04
17. Astana Pro Team 20:08
18. Team Katusha 20:12
19. Team SKY 20:16
20. Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 20:20
21. Tinkoff - Saxo 20:24
22. Movistar Team 20:28

The short 12.6 kilometre team time trial is pan flat and not too technical. World team time trial champions Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and Movistar are the clear favourites to take victory today. Find out everything you need to know about the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana right here.

It might be nearing 7pm in Jerez, but the temperature is still in the 20s and the course is currently bathed in sunshine, music to the ears of the riders.

There has been a few crashes already ahead of the race. Today, almost the entire Trek Factory Racing team came down as they were exiting a roundabout during a recon of the course. Only Cancellara, Arredondo and Feillin were left unscathed. According to the team, Jungles was worst off but all nine riders will start this evening.

Chris Froome also took a tumble yesterday. The Sky rider came down en route to the team time trial course. He was unhurt and denied that it will affect his mentality in the race.

Team car on the startline... let's rock and roll already

Team car on the startline... let's rock and roll already

If you're not already aware, defending champion Chris Horner will not be starting the Vuelta a Espana. The American was discovered to have low cortisol levels due to the cortisone medication he used to heal his bronchitis and was pulled by his team, following the rules stipulated by the MPCC. You can read it here.

MTN-Qhubeka get the Vuelta a started and set off down the start ramp.

The 2014 Vuelta a Espana sees not only the strongest field of the Grand Tours this season, but one of the strongest in recent memory. Former Vuelta stage winner Robert Millar tells us who his favourites are for the red jersey in his blog.

Cofidis is next off and the riders are now getting ready on the ramp. There are four minute intervals between each of the 22 teams.

Cofidis has an interest in the general classification in Daniel Navarro. The Spaniard used to ride as a domestique for Alberto Contador but moved to Cofidis last season. He abandoned the Tour de France on stage 13.

Europcar are all lined up on the ramp. They've got a minute to go before they start. The French team will be hoping to just get through without losing too much time.

Dan Craven makes his Grand Tour debut. The Nambian is all beard and helmet. This is a big moment for him.

MTN is the only team through the first check point. They completed the first 6.5km in a time of 7:18

Movistar will be the last team to leave the start this evening. The Spanish team comes with Giro d'Italia champion Nairo Quintana and 2009 Vuelta champion Alejandro Valverde. Quintana is the big favourite for victory, but he says the pressure is on his rivals and not him.

Giant-Shimano are the next ream to go. They smooth as they pick their way through the corners at the start.

It is a young team and American duo Chad Haga and Lawson Craddock are making their Grand Tour debut with the team.

MTN is the first team to finish in a time of 14:42. They finish with 6 riders.

Cofidis has gone through the first time check six seconds down on MTN-Qhubeka. AG2R-La Mondiale begin their team time trial.

AG2R-La Mondiale has Carlos Betancur as their team leader. The Colombian doesn't look totally race ready with pictures showing him with a few extra pounds around the middle.

Europcar is the next team to go through the check at 6.5km and they trail MTN by a huge 21 seconds. Not a great start for the French team.

Cofidis finish in a time of 15:04, which is 22 seconds down on MTN who hold the lead.

Caja Rural is now on the road.

Caja Rural has two stage winners in their team with Luis Leon Sanchez and David Arroyo.

Europcar look very ragged as they cross the line in a time of 15:16.

IAM Cycling head down the start ramp. What can they do today?

MTN-Qhubeka is unlikely to hold onto the lead today, but if they do it will be Daniel Teklahaimanot in the red jersey. He crossed the line first. The Eritrean is one of the few MTN riders who has ridden a Grand Tour.

Giant-Shimano continues to look strong with five riders remaining as they cross the line. They beat MTN by 13 seconds with a time of 14:29.

Orica-GreenEdge are on their way.

The Australian team will be targeting the GC for the first time with Esteban Chaves. They're also looking to take stage wins with Michael Matthews. They don't have their strongest time trial team, so this could be interesting.

AG2R-La Mondiale is the next team to complete the course. They went through the first time check 8 seconds down on Giant-Shimano. They lose time in the second half and finish with a time of 14:46.

Cannondale begin their final grand tour, with the team set to disbandon at the end of the season. Peter Sagan is back at the Vuelta and looking for stage victories.

Giant-Shimano continues to lead the way as Caja Rural complete the course in a time of 15:01. It's a respectable time for the Spanish team.

FDJ are under way.

The team stick to the smooth surface on the side of the road and avoid the cobbles that dominate the early part of the course.

Orica-GreenEdge go through the first check point a single second faster that Giant Shimano, however there are splits in the team and the front group has to slow down.

FDJ has Nacer Bouhanni and Thibaut Pinot as their leaders. Pinot missed some pre-Vuelta training as he was feeling tired. However, when he spoke to Cyclingnews ahead of the race he said he was happy with his form.


"I had a pleasant four weeks since the Tour but I’m happy to be back racing at the Vuelta. A stage win would be nice and maybe the mountains jersey is something to aim at, although there are a lot of strong riders here. The biggest difficulties come primarily after the first rest day and the time trial."

As Lampre-Merida start, Cannondale go the first check in a time of 6:59, 7 seconds faster than GreenEdge. They're on a mission.

IAM Cycling are the seventh team to finish 24 seconds down on Giant.

Despite losing Chris Horner days before the race, Lampre do start with nine men.

Orica-GreenEdge make up for their troubles mid-stage and cross with the fastest time, 10 seconds quicker than Giant-Shimano.

BMC are now on the road. They will be looking for a good result today to keep Cadel Evans and Samuel Sanchez in GC contention.

Cyclingnews spoke to Cadel Evans about who he thought were the big favourites ahead of the race. Here is what he had to say:  "Despite his inexperience, I think Quintana is the number one guy for the win and then there are guys like Froome and Contador although we don’t know how they’ve recovered from their injuries. I wouldn’t discount either of them."

Cannondale lost a little time in the second half, but they still beat Orica-GreenEdge by 0.01 of a second.

The VUelta a Espana is the first race in BMC colours for Rohan Dennis. The Australian made the switch after the Commonwealth Games at the beginning of this month.

Trek Factory Racing are on course. It's be interesting to see how they go after suffering a big crash in training this morning.

Kenny Elissonde is struggling to stick with the FDJ team, but Bouhanni comes back to make sure he stays with them.

FDJ lose a huge 39 seconds on this short course. The team can still make it up in the mountains, but that's not the way they would have wanted to start.

We're over half way now with Belkin the 14th team to roll down the start ramp.

Robert Gesink is riding for Belkin. The Dutch rider had heart surgery at the beginning of the season. He hoped that he might ride the Tour de France, but it proved to big of an ask for him.

Garmin-Sharp get going. The team are going into the race with three potential leaders in Dan Martin, Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal.

Cycliingnews spoke to Talansky ahead of the race about Alberto Contador's participation in the race.


"It’s definitely unexpected but Alberto has shown time and time again he’s a world class bike rider. If anybody could recover and make it to the start line of the Vuelta and even do something in the Vuelta then it’s him."

Hesjedal and Martin will be the team's main leaders, with the team putting Talansky forward as a domestique. However, the American could be a potential contender.

BMC makes up time in the second half of the course and cross the line in fourth place, 15 seconds down on Cannondale. The team finished with a full roster of riders.

Lotto-Belisol is off the ramp and Adam Hansen begins his 10th consecutive Grand Tour.

We've only got six more teams to come.

Trek Factory Racing really drive it home with Cancellara at the head of the seven riders still present and they finish three seconds down on Cannondale with a time of 14:22.

Astana are on their way.

Garmin-Sharp is not having a good time of it. They cross the first check some 22 seconds down on Cannondale.

Belkin finish with five riders, they've obviously been giving it beans. They cross the line in fifth, 13 seconds down.

Dan Martin is sitting second to last at the moment in the Garmin Sharp train. He'll just be happy to finish after he crashed out in the Giro d'Italia's team time trial.

Katusha is the next team to go. Like Dan Martin, Joaquim Rodríguez will be hoping for a better team time trial than he did at the Giro d'Italia when he lost a hatful of time to his rivals.

We may have jinxed Katusha and they almost lose two riders right from the start. The two riders have to chase back on to the back of the team.

The hardest 14 minutes and 19 seconds of my life

@georgenbennett Sat, 23rd Aug 2014 19:13:10

Garmin-Sharp cross the line with six riders. They lost David Millar and Johan Vansummeren along the way. Ryder Hesjedal leads them over the line 35 seconds back on Cannondale. That's a terrible time for the team.

Sky now head down the start ramp.

This is Chris Froome's first race since he crashed out of the Tour de France. The Brit says that he is feeling more relaxed at the Vuelta than he did at the Tour.

Katusha continues to look ragged as Caruso finally drops off the back. In contrast, Astana are looking slick at the moment.

Lotto Belisol finish with five riders. It's a disappointing time at they finish 24 seconds down on Cannondale.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep is off. They're favourites today, especially with Tony Martin in the team.

Rigoberto Uran is looking to perform in the general classification. Cyclingnews spoke to him ahead of the stage to see what he thought of the short route.


"It’s quite a technical time trial with a lot of roundabouts and section of cobblestones at the start, but we’ve got a very strong team here. When you’ve got a rider like Tony Martin in the team, it’s almost like having a guy who counts double. We’ve got a a lot of experience and the team has put a lot of work into the team time trial. The team won the world title for the past two years and it’s a discipline that we like a lot."

After looking smooth earlier, Astana look much less so in the finishing straight. They finish 24 seconds down on Cannondale.

A strapped up Alberto Contador gets his Vuelta underway with his Tinkoff-Saxo team. Time will tell how his knee holds up.

Sky is 16 seconds down at the first check point. They will be disappointed with that.

Katusha down to five riders, including Rodriguez and Moreno, at the finish. Kolobnev leads them over the line 32 seconds down on the current leaders. A bad start for the Russian team.

The final team Movistar are on course and now we wait for the results to shake out.

Movistar has two leaders with Quintana and Valverde. The elder of the two says that Quintana will be the favourite of the two.

Sky look like they could be in trouble. They're losing a few riders now and Mikel Nieve has to chase back on.

Alberto Contador looks comfortable at the moment, he is sitting in the middle of the Tinkoff-Saxo train.

Sky finish with the minimum number of riders. Kiryienka leads them home 21 seconds down. This is looking increasingly good for Cannondale.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep will be the next to crosss the line. They went through the first check 7 seconds down on Cannondale. Tinkoff-Saxo go through the same check a further 5 seconds back.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep are on the limit as they come to the line. They've closed the gap in the second half, but they're still 5 seconds behind Cannondale and finish fourth.

Only two more teams to finish now, but it looks like Cannondale will be victorious.

Nairo Quintana is currently having problems keeping up the pace set by his teammates. The Colombian is hanging on the back of the line of riders.

Tinkoff-Saxo come home with Alberto Contador safe. They're 13 seconds off Cannondale and that's a lot better than expected.

Movistar the last team out on course. They went through the first check five seconds back on Cannondale. A win is still within their grasp.

Movistar have killed it in the second half of the course and they win the stage

The Spanish team made up 11 seconds in six kilometres and it looked like it was Malori who lead them over. He will be in red tomorrow.

Here are the final results for today's stage:


1. Movistar 14' 13''
2. Cannondale + 6''
3. Orica + 6''
4. Trek + 9''
5. Omega + 11''
6. Giant + 16''
7. Tinkoff + 19''
8. Belkin + 19''
9. BMC + 21''
10. Lampre + 25''
11. SKY + 27''
12. MTN + 29''
13. Astana + 30''
14. Lotto + 30''
15. AG2R + 33''
16. Katusha + 38''
17. IAM + 40''
18. Garmin + 41''
19. FDJ + 45''
20. Caja Rural + 48''
21. Cofidis + 51''
22. Europcar + 1' 03''

Sorry it was Castroviejo who lead them over the line and takes the red jersey.

Castroviejo did the same two years ago when Movistar won in Pamplona. He held the jersey for two days, can he keep it for a little longer this time?

Full results are already available here. You will be able to find the full report and photos later.

That's all from us today, but come back tomorrow for stage two from Algeciras to San Fernando.

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