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Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2019: Stage 1

As we pick up the action at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) is the provisional leader of this opening time trial. The Italian clocked 13:23 for the 10.2km course around Orihuela, 4 seconds quicker than David de la Cruz (Team Sky).

57 riders have completed their efforts to date, and the provisional leaderboard is as follows:

 

1 Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team) 13:23
2 David De La Cruz (Team Sky) 13:27
3 Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) 13:31
4 Reto Hollenstein (Katusha-Alpecin) 13:37
5 Magnus Cort (Astana Pro Team) 13:38
 

 

And at that, Colin Joyce (Rally-UHC) flashes through the finish line in 13:26 to go second on the leaderboard.

 

Former world champion Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) are among the riders currently out on the course, which finishes with a punishing kick to the line. Today marks a comeback for Chaves, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis after finishing the Giro d'Italia last May.

 

Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) duly stops the clock in 13:20 to record a new quickest time. The Portuguese takes over from Alessandro De Marchi in the hot seat.

 

Alasdair Fotheringham is at the finish line for Cyclingnews, and he has reconnoitred today’s time trial course.

The first part of the time trial is a loop starting in a big boulevard in central Orihuela, heading out through a couple of hamlets then back into town, writes Alasdair. The course then swings hard right over a river onto the final climb to the finish outside the local seminary, which overlooks the town.

The climb is about 600 metres long and the road up is narrow and not very well surfaced. The climb starts with short stretch of cobbles and then kicks up with its steepest part, around about 10 or 12 percent for a good 100 metres. Then after a left-hander, there's a series of switchback curves - some of them steep -along with steadier, draggy raps and a few flatter sections up to the finish.

 

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) showcased his early-season form by finishing a fraction quicker than Rui Costa, but his time has now been pipped by his fellow countryman Diego Rosa (Team Sky). Rosa's time of 13:15 is 5 seconds quicker than both Colbrelli and Costa.

 

A propos of Team Sky, their one-time team doctor Richard Freeman was due to appear before a medical tribunal that will assess his right to practice in Manchester this morning. Freeman did not show up and his legal team has applied for an adjournment of the hearing. Patrick Fletcher is in Manchester for Cyclingnews and has more here.

 

World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will be the final rider down the start ramp this afternoon, setting off at 15:04 local time. The final wave of starters is scheduled as follows:

 

14:21:00 Juan Camacho Del Fresno (Kometa Cycling Team)
14:22:00 José Fernandes (Burgos – BH)
14:23:00 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Equipo Euskadi)
14:24:00 Svein Tuft (Rally UHC Cycling)
14:26:00 Sebastian Mora Vedri (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)
14:28:00 Raul Alarcon (W52 / FC Porto)
14:30:00 Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom – Rusvelo)
14:32:00 Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias)
14:34:00 Moreno Moser (Nippo – Vini Fantini – Faizane)
14:36:00 Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise)
14:38:00 Dennis Van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy)
14:40:00 Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie)
14:42:00 Jesus Herrada (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
14:44:00 Roman Kreuziger (Team Dimension Data)
14:46:00 Harry Tanfield (Team Katusha Alpecin)
14:48:00 Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)
14:50:00 Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)
14:52:00 Tony Martin (Team Jumbo – Visma)
14:54:00 Dylan Teuns (Bahrain – Merida)
14:56:00 Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Astana Pro Team)
14:58:00 Adam Yates (Mitchelton – Scott)
15:00:00 Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team)
15:02:00 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
15:04:00 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)
 

 

Esteban Chaves, incidentally, recorded a decent time of 13:31 in his first race since the final day of last year's Giro d'Italia. We'll have full reaction from the Colombian later in the afternoon.

 

The cobbled section at the base of the climb to the finish (picture courtesy of Alasdair Fotheringham).

 

Enrico Gasparotto (Dimension Data) clocked 13:18, good enough for the second best time to that point, but he has since been bumped down to third by Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), who was a fraction of a second quicker. Diego Rosa remains in the hot seat.

 

Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin) had the quickest time at the midway point but dropped to 7th, 8 seconds down on Rosa by the finish. Rosa, by contrast, was 13th at the checkpoint, which shows the importance of that final haul to the line.

 

Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma) has scorched through the intermediate check with the best time to date, but it remains to be seen if the Dutchman will be able to maintain his speed on the final kick to the line.

 

Patrick Fletcher has filed an updated story on the adjournment of Richard Freeman's medical tribunal in Manchester. The former Team Sky doctor's hearing has been adjourned for 48 hours until Friday morning, but it seems that further delays are likely. Read the full story here.

 

Van Emden had more than enough in reserve for that haul to the line. He has posted a new best time of 13:05, 10 seconds quicker than Diego Rosa.

 

Pello Bilbao (Astana) has produced a solid ride to clock the second quickest time to date. His 13:08 is 3 seconds down on Van Emden's first place.

 

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) was second overall last year, and the Spaniard has just begun his 2019 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. He already has some Australian racing in his legs, and Sanchez performed strongly place 4th overall at the Tour Down Under and 10th at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) was the quickest at the intermediate check point, and the Norwegian is on the lower slopes of the climb to the finish.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen is the first man to break the 13-minute mark. His time of 12:55 is 10 seconds quicker than Van Emden, and he takes over in the hot seat.

 

Jurgen Roelandts (Movistar), incidentally, is currently in the provisional top 5 at the finish after he produced a fine time of 13:18.

 

“The last 700 metres is a really hard climb but you have to go fast across the whole course to do a good time. I got everything out so I’m really happy,” Boasson Hagen tells Eurosport. “I was hoping to do a good time trial, and so far it seems good but there are more to come. We’ll see.”

 

Third best time at the finish for Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), who stops the clock in 13:06.

 

Niki Terpstra rolls down the start ramp to make his debut in Direct Energie colours. The French squad is still waiting on its wildcard invitation to the Tour de France, but will expect to pick up one of the two remaining berths, with Arkea Samsic and Vital Concept also in the mix.

 

We're into the final wave of starters now, with riders setting out at two-minute intervals. Roman Kreuziger is pushed off down the start ramp for his debut in Dimension Data colours.

 

The remaining starters are:

 

14:46:00 Harry Tanfield (Team Katusha Alpecin)
14:48:00 Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates)
14:50:00 Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)
14:52:00 Tony Martin (Team Jumbo – Visma)
14:54:00 Dylan Teuns (Bahrain – Merida)
14:56:00 Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Astana Pro Team)
14:58:00 Adam Yates (Mitchelton – Scott)
15:00:00 Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team)
15:02:00 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
15:04:00 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team)
 

 

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) begins his 2019 season. The Irishman was a stage winner in this race in 2016 and placed 5th overall in 2017.

 

Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) is planning to renew his focus on the discipline this season after two difficult years at Katusha-Alpecin. It will be fascinating to see how the German time trial champion performs this afternoon as he rolls down the start ramp.

 

Niki Terpstra stops the clock in 13:26. That's 31 seconds down on Boasson Hagen, and he will not trouble the leaderboard.

 

We're into the final five starters. Ion Izagirre (Astana) rolls down the start ramp. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) will follow him, before Greg Van Avermaet, Geraint Thomas and Alejandro Valverde conclude proceedings this afternoon.

 

Dan Martin will be glad to have this time trial behind him, but this was a fine display from the Irishman. He made very light work of the final climb and he comes home with the 6th best time to date. His 13:15 sets him up well for an assault on final overall victory.

 

Martin, incidentally, was just one second faster than the British neo-professional Harry Tanfield (Katusha-Alpecin), who produced an excellent display in his debut for the WorldTour team.

 

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is out on the course, while the last man off, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), steadies himself in the start house.

 

That final climb has proved just too much for Tony Martin. The German rode well, but couldn't quite match Boasson Hagen on the haul to the line. His time of 13:01 is good enough for provisional second best.

 

Ion Izagirre (Astana) won't trouble Boasson Hagen but he sets himself up for an overall challenge. He stops the clock in 13:00 for the second best time with just four more riders to finish.

 

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finishes in a time of 13:26, which leaves him with provisional 37th place on the stage.

 

Only Boasson Hagen has finished this time trial inside 13 minutes. Only Van Avermaet, Thomas and Valverde are left out on the road to challenge him.

 

Van Avermaet didn't spare himself on the final climb. He finishes in 26th place in a time of 13:24. Thomas, meanwhile, has started this haul to the finish...

 

Thomas hits the base of the climb roughly in line with Izagirre's split - can he recoup the ground on Boasson Hagen?

 

Geraint Thomas betrayed signs of suffering on the climb and he crosses the line with the 11th best time. His 13:15 is 20 seconds down on Boasson Hagen.

 

Valverde hits the climb to the line, and rises from the saddle as he tackles the lower ramps.

 

There is raucous cheering for Valverde from the decent smattering of fans gathered on the hillside. He'll have his work cut out to beat Boasson Hagen...

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) wins stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

 

Valverde finished the stage in 8th place. His time of 13:09 was 14 seconds slower than Boasson Hagen's winning mark.

 

Result:

 

1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) 00:12:54.71
2 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:05
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:07
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:08
5 Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:10

 

Result:

 

1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) 00:12:54.71
2 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:05.36
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:06.96
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:08.06
5 Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:10.36
6 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 00:00:11.09
7 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:12.60
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:14.23
9 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:18.82
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:19.77
 

Stage winner and overall leader Edvald Boasson Hagen talks Eurosport through his victory: "It’s really nice to finally win again and start the season like this. I didn’t expect this and I got a bit nervous when I got closer. I was hoping to have a good start and a good feeling. I had a good feeling and it’s a really good start that I have a victory too. [For the GC], you have to take it day by day and see how it goes. There are some hard hilly stages as well. They will be very hard but I’m ready to fight as hard as possible."

 

General classification:

 

1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 00:12:54
2 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:05
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:06
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:08
5 Jos van Emden (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:10
6 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 00:00:11
7 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:12
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:14
9 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:18
10 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:19

 

 

 

Geraint Thomas declared himself pleased with his first race day of the year “particularly considering the work I’ve done, I haven’t done any top end or anything like that.” The Welshman finished 13th, 20 seconds down on Boasson Hagen. Alasdair Fotheringham has the full story here.

 

Thanks for following our live coverage of today's opening stage of the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana. A full report, results and pictures are available here, and we'll be back with more from stage 2 tomorrow. In the meantime, Alasdair Fotheringham will have all the news and reaction from Orihuela.

 

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