Team Sky paced the opening team trial to perfection. Their fifth man stopped the clock at 30:37, two hundreths of a second faster than Movistar with the Orica-BikeEdge crew claiming third. Pete Kennaugh was first man over the line and will swap the Rapha black and blue for the splendid Vuelta red.
Team of the race
A team time trial is all about moving a group of riders from point A to point B. It is not always a matter of who has the fastest or strongest individuals, but of how they operate as a unit to maximise their speed while looking after their GC riders. Today Sky got their tactics and pacing strategy spot on. The penultimate team to roll off the start ramp, they trailed BMC, Movistar and Orica-BikeExchange by a few seconds at each intermediate time check, but turned everything around in the final part to take their first team time trial victory at a Grand Tour since the Giro in 2013.
Here’s the Global Cycling News inside scoop on how Sky got it together…
Winners and losers
According to the race website the Galician region is a riven and forged by thermal springs. So, which teams will be relaxing with a glass of wine at the spa, and which have had their GC ambitions scalded? With only seven seconds between them, Chris Froome, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and Esteban Chaves will certainly be lounging in the hot tub. LottoNL-Jumbo kept Steven Kruiswijk right in contention at only 28 seconds off the pace.
In deeper and potentially hotter waters are the likes of Miguel Angel Lopez. The Astana hope hit trouble in the opening kilometre when he had a problem with his chain and the whole team were forced to wait. They recovered well, but find themselves nearly a minute down already. If the Kazakhs were unfortunate, Tinkoff and Giant-Alpecin had shockers. Never really on the pace, Alberto Contador gave away over 50 seconds, and Giant’s Warren Barguil a minute and 50 seconds.
However the Vuelta boasts 51 summits over it’s 3,315.4 kilometres. There is plenty of time and all the reasons for Baby Blackbird, and anyone else to soar. Vamos!
One of the reasons we love the Vuelta is that it gives new names a chance to shine, and very often it is the first Grand Tour a rider will tackle. There are 58 debutantes this year. Here’s a little advice for Dimension Data newbie Nick Dougall from seasoned campaigner Tyler Farrar. Not quite sure how useful it is, but we wish Nick the best of luck.
1 Sky 00:30:37
2 Movistar (same time)
3 Orica-Bike Exchange +0:06
4 BMC +0:07
5 Etixx-Quick Step +0:22
1 Pete Kennaugh (Sky) 00:30:37
2 Salvatore Puccio (Sky) same time
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) s/t
4 Leopold Konig (Sky) s/t
5 Chris Froome (Sky) s/t
Points leader: Not Awarded
King of the Mountains leader: not awarded
Combined classification leader: not awarded
Team classification leader: Sky
For full stage review: Cycling News
Header image: © JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images