U.S. Postal Service Wins Vuelta Team Time Trial; Landis Takes Lead
U.S. Postal Service has won Stage 1 of the Vuelta a Espana.
U.S. Postal Service has won Stage 1 of the Vuelta a Espana. The American squad dominated the 28-km team time trail, leading at every checkpoint en route to victory in 30:45. T-Mobile finished second at 0:31, and Illes Balears took third at 0:56. Floyd Landis led the winners home and donned the Vuelta?s first leader?s jersey.
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Ag2r set the early standard with a 32:34. This lasted until Illes Balears charged across the finish line with seven riders in 31:41. Phonak took a run at the Spanish team, but 31:41 remained the time to beat until T-Mobile powered home with eight men in 31:16. That remained the best time until U.S. Postal Service laid down the law.
The Posties were fastest at the 11-km and 20-km checkpoints. In the last few km, with U.S. Postal Service headed for victory, team manager Johan Bruyneel decided to have Landis cross the finish line first because, according to Bruyneel, ?he was by far the strongest on the team today. He deserved to take the jersey.? Landis said, ?I wasn?t complaining.?
Bruyneel declared that U.S. Postal Service had lost two team trials at the Vuelta a Espana because of slow starts. He instructed the team to begin today?s time trial fast. He felt certain that the team could keep its momentum in the middle and later sections of the course.
In the overall, Landis leads teammates Michael Barry and Victor Hugo Pena. Both have the same time as Landis. Stage 2 will be a flat, 207-km run from Leon to Burgos. Crosswinds are frequently a factor in Spanish races, and that could be the case tomorrow. The stage will probably end in a sprint, but will it be a field sprint? If so, who will take it? Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)? Oscar Freire (Rabobank)? Max van Heeswijk (U.S. Postal Service)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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