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Vuelta a España 2015: Stage 1

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 It has almost arrived! The opening stage of the final Grand Tour of the year will begin in just over half an hour with MTN-Qhubeka the first team off the start ramp.

#LV2015 And the crowd has arrived... @lavuelta here we come.

Obviously the biggest news about today's TTT is that the times will not count for the GC. There is still a stage win at stake so we'll see many teams going all out.

 

As we mentioned before, MTN-Qhubeka will be the first team to start their test at 18:48 local time with Katusha rounding things off at 20:33. Here's a full list of start times for today's TTT.

 

Orica-GreenEdge are one of the favourites for today's stage. They're coming into this race with stage wins in mind, as DS Neil Stephen's explains.

 

""As usual we're going into this Vuelta with a stage win in mind. It's difficult to tell who it will come from as Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey are only just returning after their bad crashes in the Tour de France. Caleb Ewan is fast but the stages here don't really suit him and he is here to race in his first grand Tour. For once we also have GC ambitions with (Colombia's) Esteban Chaves and we'll do our best to place him in the best possible position overall."

 

Chris Froome is attempting to do something that only two other riders have ever done and that is win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same season. He's only the second rider to take on the race in the same season as winning the Tour. Here's what he had to say of his chances ahead of the race. 

 

Carlos Sastre is the only other rider to ride the Vuelta a Espana after winning the Tour de France just a few weeks earlier. He went on to finish third in the Spanish Grand Tour. We spoke to him earlier this week about Froome's chances and here is what he had to say.

 

This awaits our #LaVuelta squad following tonight's opening TTT. First team off at 6:48. We start at 7:13. http://t.co/2qDr9PGVMN

@Ride_Argyle Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 16:33:03

Today's parcours is pan flat and it's not too technical but the major difficulty for the riders will be the varying terrain that includes a lot of sand.

 

Oleg Tinkov has Rafal Majka as his GC contender for the Vuelta this year. Hs Tinkoff-Saxo team are also looking to Peter Sagan to provide a few stage wins. In Tinkov's Cyclingnews blog the Russian names a rider from another team as his race favourite

 

Less than five minutes until racing gets going. If you're new to cycling or want to refresh your memory, why not watch our beginner's guide to the Vuelta a Espana

 

DEGS! Cheering him for the points jersey - it'll be a big ask but he got it last year, he can do it this year too! #Vuelta

@VeloVoices Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 16:44:24

We're underway. MTN-Qhubeka are out on course.

 

Movistar will be one of the last teams off today. They're one of the favourites for today's stage and the overall victory when the race reaches Madrid in three weeks. Nairo Quintana made his name at the race three years ago. This is what he had to say before the 2015 edition.

 

The 'roads' that the teams must navigate are very narrow and the riders will have to be slick in their change overs to avoid any mishaps. While the route has caused some controversy, there is no doubt that it is incredibly picturesque. 

 

After abandoning the Tour de France at the start of the final week, Tejay van Garderen is back in action today. He could be a dark horse at the Vuelta. Here's what he had to say ahead of the race. 

 

Stephen Cummings is back with his team after getting dropped. Surprising for a rider that is often so strong in TTs. They're inside the final kilometre. 

 

MTN-Qhubeka set the bencmark at 08:40.8

 

FDJ are now out on the course. There are five-minute intervals between the teams so we don't risk any catches on this short route. 

 

The Colombia team are also out there somewhere ahead of FDJ. They're going to be focused on the mountain stages at the Vuelta. 

 

The Colombia team go three seconds slower than MTN-Qhubeka as LottoNL-Jumbo get going. 

 

Astana have come to the Vuelta with probably the strongest line up of all. They've got three leaders, including former champion Vincenzo Nibali who says that he is enjoying the fact that he knows nothing of the Vuelta route. 

 

AG2R-La Mondiale will be the next team off. They'll be happy that the times don't count today as they're not known for their TTT prowess. 

 

A poor performance from FDJ who come home in a time of 8:54. They'll just be happy to have got through it unscathed. 

 

#LV2015 Our Trinity's are ready. http://t.co/t40LxOFRDF

@GiantAlpecin Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 17:03:48

MTN-Qhubeka are still enjoying themselves in the hotseat. It's aptly named at it's scorching in Marbella today. 

 

LottoNL-Jumbo demolish the current fastest time. The stop the clock at 8:18, 22 seconds quicker than MTN-Qhubeka.

 

With four teams home, here is how it stands. 

 

1 LottoNL-Jumbo 00:08:18
2 MTN-Qhubeka 00:08:40
3 Team Colombia 00:08:43
4 FDJ 00:08:54

 

AG2R-La Mondiale will be the next team to complete their ride. Here's what their DS Julien Jurdie had to say earlier today. 

 

"Our objective is to give our all for Domenico Pozzovivo. He has the advantage of being fresh since he did not ride the Tour and had a forced break after his crash in the Giro. Afterwards, he is a very dedicated rider who prepared perfectly for his goal which is to finish in the Top 5. The compeition is fierce but the Vuelta is a hard race for the riders who rode the Tour and sometimes falter i the third week. Apart from that the good thing is that we have no pressure. So we'll try of course to place riders in the breaks for stage wins but also to helpd their leader in the finale."

 

Cannondale-Garmin are riding. They had a nightmare in last year's TTT. Let's hope they can all stay upright all the way to the finish. 

 

AG2R set the slowest time so far at 9:10. They look like they were saving their energy for the tougher days to come. 

 

Trek Factory racing are on the home trainers and are warming up. They're pre-stage favourites with Fabian Cancellara making his comeback to racing after his serious injury at the Tour de France. Read what Cancellara had to say before the race. 

 

Cannondale all make it through in one piece but it's a very slow time. They set a time of 9:30 on that course.

 

Another rider making a comeback from injury is Nacer Bouhanni. He is out on the road now with Cofidis, who shouldn't threaten the top of the standings today. 

 

IAM Cycling http://t.co/WsGUQjwHgk #LaVuelta2015

@radiotour_fr Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 17:22:03

IAM Cycling finish with the minimum requirement of five riders but they can't quite beat LottoNL-Jumbo. They go 19 seconds slower than the Dutch team.

 

Cannondale are currently the slowest team but with the times not counting towards the GC, Andrew Talansky was in a fairly good mood at the finish.

 

“It’s really nice. We wanted to put on a good show and make sure that we gave a good effort. It was great to see all the people out it was a great way to start the Vuelta,” said Talansky. “Our main priority was to stay safe and put in a decent effort but to put on a show too. We went fast enough and stayed safe. I’m very happy that the UCI and the organisers decided to neutralise the stage.”

 

Cofidis just squeeze into second place a tenth of a second quicker than IAM Cycling. That's a good performance from that team. Europcar the next team to begin. 

 

Astana are warming up outside the bus. They'll be underway at 20:18 local time. 

 

Eight teams have finished the 7.4km course and here is how the standings look right now.

 

1 LottoNL-Jumbo 00:08:18
2 Cofidis, Solutions Crédit 00:08:37
3 IAM Cycling 00:08:37
4 MTN-Qhubeka 00:08:40
5 Team Colombia 00:08:43
6 FDJ 00:08:54
7 AG2R-La Mondiale 00:09:10
8 Team Cannondale 00:09:30

 

Caja Rural set an impressive time of 8:28 to go second. 

 

With the neutralisation of this stage we are likely to see some surprising results as several teams soft pedal it just to make sure they get home safe and ready for the mountains. 

 

Totally home made spareribs on the BBQ. IPA next to it. @LottoJumbo_road on the hot seats. Good day..

@laurenstendam Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 17:34:20

Orica-GreenEdge are certainly not soft pedaling. They're going for it today.

 

Some of the climbers in the Orica team are really having to work hard to keep up with the high pace and there are gaps starting to appear. Panic is over after a big chase to bring it back together. 

 

Trek Factory Racing are on course with Fabian Cancellara. How much he would like to win on his return to racing. 

 

One team that is at no risk of winning is Europcar. They set a very slow time of 10:25 and beat Cannondale into last place. 

 

The TTT who's name shall not be mentioned.....

@Vaughters Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 17:42:25

To prove they really were motoring, Orica-GreenEdge finish with a time of 08:11 to put themselves into the top spot and the hot seat. 

 

Trek Factory DS Dirk Demol spoke to race website La Vuelta before the stage, here is what he had to say:


"We're looking for a stage win and I still hope that Frank Schleck can compete for the general classification. He finished several grand Tours in the top 10 and we'll help him as much as we can. If he makes it into the Top 10, it will be great. It's an important race for him. Fabian Cancellara is in his first race since his Tour de France crash. It's the second time he makes such a comeback this season. He wants to find an acceptable form to go to Richmond because he has it at the back of his mind that he can do a good world championship. He's going to follow the others in the first week and you never know for the rest of it. We also believe in the strength of our sprinter Danny Van Poppel who won two stages in the Tour of Wallonia. He improved a lot and will be helped here by his brother Boy and by Jasper Stuyven."

 

Tinkoff-Saxo are having to make their way through the sand, which is billowing up around them as they go through. 

 

Fabian Cancellara lead Trek across the line in third place. They're 10 seconds off the pace. 

 

With Trek over the line, here is how the top 10 stands at the moment. 

 

1 Orica-GreenEdge 00:08:11
2 LottoNL-Jumbo 00:08:18
3 Trek Factory Racing 00:08:21
4 Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 00:08:28
5 Cofidis, Solutions Crédit 00:08:37
6 IAM Cycling 00:08:37
7 MTN-Qhubeka 00:08:40
8 Team Colombia 00:08:43
9 FDJ 00:08:54
10 AG2R-La Mondiale 00:09:10

 

Across the pond, the USA Pro Challenge is getting underway, you'll be able to follow the stage live on Cyclingnews when the Vuelta is finished. So stick around.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo beat the time of Orica-GreenEdge just a few tenths of a second quicker than the Australian team. Not sure who crossed the line first but we'll find out soon enough. 

 

It was reportedly Peter Sagan who crossed the line first. Will this be his first Grand Tour stage win in two years? He'll take the red jersey if the team can remain at the top of the standings. 

 

David de la Cruz is the first rider dropped for Etixx-QuickStep. We've seen a lot of riders able to make it back to their teams before the finish. 

 

Lotto-Soudal will be the next team to go in a minute and we've only got seven teams still to start. 

 

Another team content with just setting a time and getting home safe, Giant-Alpecin stop the clock at 9:17.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo lead the way by just half a second. Rafal Majka spoke to television after the stage, saying: "The team went really fast but I didn’t risk anything I didn’t want to crash. My teammates went really fast and tried to win the stage... Every team doesn’t want to take the risks and I think it was a good decision (to neutralise the stage)."

 

Etixx-QuickStep cross the line in fourth and they're not happy. There's a few cross words between some of the riders. 

 

Etixx are going well - 4th fastest. Uh oh, there's someone who's losing their rag with someone. Shouty #Vuelta

@VeloVoices Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 18:07:16

Lampre-Merida underway, BMC are next up in just under five minutes. They're going to be a big threat to Tinkoff-Saxo's fastest time. 

 

Lotto-Soudal are down to five riders. They can't lose anyone else. 

 

Lotto-Soudal manage to keep their remaining five riders and set a time of 8:28 which is enough to put them in sixth place just ahead of Caja Rural. 

 

BMC are off and they're in perfect formation very quickly. What can they do today?

 

We've only got six more teams to cross the line. Next will be Lampre-Merida. 

 

Lampre-Merida go 10th with a time of 08:37. A reasonable time from the Italian squad. 

 

The sun is going down and the temperatures are getting lower but it's still pretty hot for the remaining five teams. 

 

Aru now on the road. They're going to be the team to watch during this Vuelta wth Aru, Landa and Nibali all in the same team. Can they work together or will it all fall apart?

 

BMC are down to five riders as they make their way past the deckchair-lined beach. Still a few people trying to catch the rays. 

 

BMC storm over the line in a time of 8:10 and just a hundreth of a second faster than Tinkoff-Saxo. 

 

The riders look absolutely spent on the line. They really gave that everything. Peter Velits was the first rider over the line so he'll be in red if they win. He finished second overall in the 2010 Vuelta. 

 

It's very tight at the top as Movistar get going. Here's how the top 10 looks with just four more teams to finish. 

 

1 BMC Racing 00:08:10
2 Tinkoff-Saxo 00:08:11
3 Orica-GreenEdge 00:08:11
4 LottoNL-Jumbo 00:08:18
5 Etixx-QuickStep 00:08:20
6 Trek Factory Racing 00:08:21
7 Lotto-Soudal 00:08:28
8 Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 00:08:28
9 Cofidis, Solutions Crédit 00:08:37
10 IAM Cycling 00:08:37

 

There are large parts of the course in the shade now, which could make it a little interesting for the remaining teams. 

 

Astana finish in a time of 8:40 to go 12th. Importantly they're all home with no problems. 

 

Fresh from his ride Tejay van Garderen had this to say. "We’re happy the race isn’t over yet but we beat a lot fo the good teams and we’re confident that we can take it to the end.

"When we’re the world team time trial champs we have to do the stripes proud. It’s a tricky course but in the end the guys stepped up and did us proud."

 

Team Sky are on their way at the Vuelta a Espana! BMC's time of 8:10 is the one to beat right now. Only Katusha left to start. #LV2015

@TeamSky Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 18:28:44

Team Sky do not look smooth over this course, one rider has broken free out front while Froome is hanging on the back. 

 

Movistar taking it easy and stop the clock at 08:34.

 

Katusha start their time trial and that's the last of the teams to roll down the start ramp. 

 

Sky are still all together, they look like they're just trying to stay safe out there.

 

Sky are over the line with a very slow time of 9:21 but they won't mind too much about that. They'll be fresh for tomorrow. 

 

After that time we've got just Katusha to finish. Here is what the standings look like at the moment.

 

1 BMC Racing 00:08:10
2 Tinkoff-Saxo 00:08:11
3 Orica-GreenEdge 00:08:11
4 LottoNL-Jumbo 00:08:18
5 Etixx-QuickStep 00:08:20
6 Trek Factory Racing 00:08:21
7 Lotto-Soudal 00:08:28
8 Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 00:08:28
9 Movistar 00:08:34
10 Cofidis, Solutions Crédit 00:08:37
11 IAM Cycling 00:08:37
12 Lampre-Meirda 00:08:37
13 Astana 00:08:40
14 MTN-Qhubeka 00:08:40
15 Team Colombia 00:08:43
16 FDJ 00:08:54
17 AG2R-La Mondiale 00:09:10
18 Giant-Alpecin 00:09:17
19 Team Sky 00:09:21
20 Team Cannondale 00:09:30
21 Team Europcar 00:10:25

 

Les Sky assez loin http://t.co/WsGUQjwHgk #LaVuelta2015

@radiotour_fr Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 18:38:04

Geraint Thomas says it was disappointing to have a stage like today after the team were looking forward to the stage, however they're happy to stay safe out there. 

 

Katusha are strung out over the line and go 9:04 so that confirms that BMC are the stage winners. They also won the Tour de France time trial by just a hundredth of a second. 

 

So here are the final standings with all the teams home. Remember, these times don't count for the general classification. 

 

1 BMC Racing 00:08:10
2 Tinkoff-Saxo 00:08:11
3 Orica-GreenEdge 00:08:11
4 LottoNL-Jumbo 00:08:18
5 Etixx-QuickStep 00:08:20
6 Trek Factory Racing 00:08:21
7 Lotto-Soudal 00:08:28
8 Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 00:08:28
9 Movistar 00:08:34
10 Cofidis, Solutions Crédit 00:08:37
11 IAM Cycling 00:08:37
12 Lampre-Meirda 00:08:37
13 Astana 00:08:40
14 MTN-Qhubeka 00:08:40
15 Team Colombia 00:08:43
16 FDJ 00:08:54
17 Katusha 00:09:04
18 AG2R-La Mondiale 00:09:10
19 Giant-Alpecin 00:09:17
20 Team Sky 00:09:21
21 Team Cannondale 00:09:30
22 Team Europcar 00:10:25

 

We've already started building a gallery and report from today's stage so click here to take a look. 

 

BMC step onto the podium to take their adulation with the rippling sea in the back ground. There's a lot of very big grins up there. 

 

There is only one trophy to share between the nine riders and they give it to the elder statesman Samuel Sanchez. He's another contender for them in the GC. 

 

BMC win the @lavuelta #LV2015 team time trial, Velits in lead - stage results http://t.co/NtfgusIazy http://t.co/jKZoK5WVCL

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 22nd Aug 2015 18:51:40

That is all from the Vuelta a Espana today but remember to stick around as we've got live coverage of the USA Pro Challenge coming your way in just a few moments.

 

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