The Vuelta a Espana– The Tour of Spain cycling race around its countryside – kicked off this evening with a nighttime team time trial (TTT) along 13 kilometers (8 miles) of Seville’s streets. The teams raced through floodlit streets past architectural marvels lit up like fireworks and a beautiful white bridge that looked like the bones of a sail.
The late-time start of 10 pm was to let riders race during the cooler evening temperatures. The Associated Press reported temperatures were around 86 degrees Fahrenheit at the start, cooler than the 100 degrees earlier in the day.
The teams started down the course in 4 minute increments after the 10 pm start. Only five team members need to finish the course and the times are determined by the last of the five men to cross the line. Several young women associated with the race held the team members bikes before they took off from the start.
HTC-Columbia won with a time of 14 minutes, 6 seconds. Mark Cavendish, the team’s sprinter, donned the race leader’s red jersey. The jersey was changed to red this year, in previous years it was gold. The Dish said in an interview on Velonation:
“The team time trial is my favourite discipline because the whole team gets rewarded, it’s special that way, and at the same time you need to get it one hundred percent right for it to work.”
“I get to stand on the podium quite a lot, but that’s because of eight other guys hard work. Today we all got to stand on the podium and I’m incredibly proud of what my team-mates did.”
Second was Liquigas-Doimo who finished 10 seconds slower than HTC.
Third was Saxo-Bank at 12 seconds behind. Saxo-Bank came into the TTT as favorites to win. Among the team was time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara who won both time trials in July’s Tour de France as well as Luxembourg time trial champion and Tour de France runner up Andy Schleck. His brother Frank Schleck – recovered now from a broken collarbone when he crashed out in the third stage of the Tour de France – is a favorite to win the Vuelta. They came across the line somewhat disjointed.
– Was it just me or did it look super-weird that the “podium girls” were lined up behind the riders at the start and holding onto their seats?
– What happened to Team Saxo Bank at the finish? The feed didn’t show much of their performance during the TTT but they were really far apart over the finish line.
Stage 1 standings:
1. HTC-Columbia: 14:06
2. Liquigas-Doimo: + 10″
3. Team Saxo Bank + 12″
4. Cervélo Test Team + 13″
5. Lampre-Farnese Vini + 14″
6. Garmin-Transitions + 17″
7. OmegaPharma-Lotto + 17″
8. Team Milram: + 18″
9. Team Katusha: + 20″
1. Mark Cavendish: HTC-Columbia
2. Peter Velits: HTC-Columbia
3. Martin Velits: HTC-Columbia
4. Lars Bak: HTC-Columbia
5. Hayden Roulston: HTC-Columbia
6. Kanstantsin Sivtsov: HTC-Columbia
7. Tejay Van Garderen: HTC-Columbia
8. Matthew Goss: HTC-Columbia
9. Daniele Bennati: Liquigas-Doimo + 10″
10. Frederik Willems: Liquigas-Doimo + 10″