Team HTC-Columbia Wins 2010 Vuelta a Espana Stage 1
Mark Cavendish takes leader's jersey in Tour of Spain 2010.
Team HTC-Columbia emerged victorious in the opening team time trial of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, a 13 kilometer nocturnal race against the clock through the streets of Seville.
Mark Cavendish was the first HTC-Columbia rider across the line, making him the race's first leader.
HTC-Columbia was ten seconds faster than second placed Liquigas-Doimo on the completely flat course held through the centre of Seville, with the Schleck brothers and the rest of Team Saxo Bank in third and Cervelo TestTeam finishing fourth.
With a heatwave sweeping Spain, temperatures were around 86 degrees as the time trial began.
"As soon as we did the first training ride on the course on Thursday even after ten minutes on the bike we were riding so well together I had the feeling we were going to win," Cavendish commented.
"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."
"My team-mates have impressed me so much that I wonder if we could have lost. After two turns, I was already killed. This is the first stage of my first Vuelta and I already have the red jersey but I only represent 10% of the win and each of my team-mate deserve to wear the jersey as well. For me, to wear the jersey doesn't change anything for stage 2 on Sunday because it should be a bunch sprint and we would have controlled the race anyway. It doesn't take me away from my real goal here, which is to win stages," Cavendish added.
Commenting on Team Saxo Bank's third place finish sports director of Team Saxo Bank told Roadcycling.com "Between km 8 and 9, we had a split in the team on a slightly false flat section. It was the hardest part of the course. Some guys were caught between turns. We lost the momentum. But everything else was spot on. It's incredible. The guys were exiting the curves together. The only thing we missed was a specific high effort training but we accepted that. We got Fränk Schleck up in good position. We rode with no pressure until the warm-up on the home trainer. Right now it's a successful day."
Team Garmin-Transitions rider and lead-out man for Tyler Farrar crashed in tonight's team time trial."Julian Dean crashed on a bike lane that was five centimetres higher than the road. He didn't see it. It happened one hour before the race during our second lap of warm-up. He has a scratch on his shoulder and bruises on his right elbow and right side. After one kilometer of racing, he was off, so we basically rode with one rider less and Julian is a very important guy in our team. Otherwise, five or six guys rode really well. David Zabriskie is strong at the moment. The team time trial is our speciality. We always want to win it. We were one of the favourites, so we can't say we're happy with sixth place but it's not too bad either." Bingen Fernandez, directeur sportif of Team Garmin-Transitions.
Mario Scirea, directeur sportif of Team Liquigas-Doimo "We've put a strong performance, considering that the guys rode with a bit of fear because of not being used to race at night time. We have so many young guys here, they have ridden really well with Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali and Daniele Bennati who have been the drivers of the team on the road. Bennati is looking good, so we'll try and get a stage win in one of the first bunch sprints."
Cervelo TestTeam with 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and Norwegian God of Thunder Thor Hushovd finished fourth in the team time trial. Commenting on the team's performance Carlos Sastre told Roadcycling.com "The team did very well. Everyone was motivated and focused and excited to be racing," Sastre said. "I'm here to do as well as I can in this Vuelta. I'm feeling good, the team is strong and motivated, so we'll see what happens in these next few weeks. I'm racing here in Spain, in front of my fans, so I am extra motivated as well. This Vuelta is not easy. Every day there is some little surprise for the racers."
"I was surprised at how good I felt because I haven't raced since the Tour de France," Thor Hushovd commented and added "The team was very strong today and we were all working well together. It's not every day that we get to race at night, so that made for an interesting race. We hope this is a good sign for the rest of the Vuelta for the team."
As the first rider across the line, Cavendish wears the leader's red jersey, which has been changed from gold in previous years. Cavendish said that although he got to wear the 2010 Tour of Spain leader's red jersey, "it belonged to the whole squad. I'm wearing it on behalf of the team."
Cavendish is also the leader of the points competition, whilst HTC-Columbia are the leaders of the teams classification.
Sunday's second stage of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana is 107.9 miles between Alcala de Guadaira and Marbella.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for extensive 2010 Vuelta a Espana coverage including news, results, interviews and video highlights from every stage. Spread the word! When on the move, visit Roadcycling.mobi from your mobile phone or download our new cycling app for Nokia phones.