BMC delivered a smooth, silky performance on a tight, tortuous tester of a team time trial in Nîmes. The men in red and black powered around the course six seconds faster than current World Champions Quick Step Floors. Sunweb rounded out the podium in third place just a smidgen of a second slower. Australian TT specialist Rohan Dennis led the BMC phalanx over the line to claim the first red jersey.
Rider Team of the Race
Team time trials require a painful blend of speed and synchrony accompanied by a fair amount of sweat and snot. It’s not pretty in that dark pain cave, but it’s strangely beautiful to watch. The first award of La Vuelta could so easily go to BMC. The victors were the only team to go sub-16mins and the only one with riders turning a huge 56 big ring. However, BMC and Quick Step Floors are names I’d expect to see at the top of a TTT results sheet, so I’m going for a name I didn’t – step up Team Sunweb.
With an average age of 20 years the nine man squad features five Grand Tour debutants, including VeloVoices #youngdude Lennard Hofstede. With talented TTers Lennard Kamna and Søren Kragh Andersen in the pace line, they posted the quickest time at the intermediate split, held their speed through the myriad of corners and surface changes, spent time in the hot seats and finished with a superb third place. Just 6secs off the winning time, and so very close to second place. The secret of their success?
A good plan…
Together with the team’s experts we looked closely at the parcours and made an intricate plan as to how we would tackle the stage. Coach Marc Reef .
and great execution…
Everyone was strict with the execution of our plan and we took almost all of our turns exactly how we had planned during our recons. We are all feeling proud of what we’ve achieved with such a young team. Lennard Kamna
It’s a tip-top start for riders from podium teams with GC ambitions. Sky’s Chris Froome will be very happy to be only +9secs down. Esteban Chaves with the Yates twins (ORICA-Scott) and Rakal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) limited their losses really well to finish +17secs and +21secs respectively.
At the other end of the scale, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Trek-Segafredo’s Alberto Contador all have to find 30secs or more in the mountains. Fabio Aru (Astana) fared even worse at +41secs. The tricky parcours saw some teams come to grief. UAE Emirates and LottoNL Jumbo all had riders hit the tarmac.
It’s going to make for some great attackity racing. VAMANOS!
What a send off
The French city of Nîmes provided a magnificent setting for opening stage and the Roman amphitheatre a spectacular backdrop. Just WOW…
Image of the day…
Top 5 stage
1 BMC 0:15:58
2 Quick Step Floors +0:06
3 Sunweb +0:06
4 Sky +0.09
5 ORICA-Scott +0.17
Top 5 GC
1 Rohan Dennis (BMC) 0:15:58
2 Daniel Oss (BMC) same time
3 Nicolas Roche (BMC) s/t
4 Alessandro de Marchi (BMC) s/t
5 Damiano Caruso (BMC) s/t
All the jerseys
Leader: Rohan Dennis (BMC)
Points: Rohan Dennis (BMC)
KOM: Nicolas Roche (BMC
Combined: Daniel Oss (BMC)
Team Classification: BMC
Best Young Rider: Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors)
Most Aggressive Rider: Not awarded
Header image: BMC and Rohan Dennis © JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Image