Team DSM Wins Stage 1 Team Time Trial of Vuelta a Espana
Stage 1 of La Vuelta a Espana 2023 was a team time trial on a 14.8-kilometer route through Barcelona. The action took place in the evening on a fast and flat route in downtown Barcelona – though technically challenging with its many turns.
Favorites to take the victory in today’s team time trial were Team Jumbo-Visma, Ineos-Grenadiers, Soudal-QuickStep, and UAE Team Emirates.
Spanish Team Caja Rural – Seguros were first off the ramp that had been constructed on a beach in Barcelona. The setting was beautiful - had it not been for the somewhat rainy conditions and thunderstorms on the horizon. The DSM-Firmenich team started four minutes later.
The glossy red start ramp was very slippery in the wet conditions and riders from various teams nearly crashed in the start phase.
Team Lidl-Trek’s light climbers Kenny Elissonde and Juan Pedro Lopez found it hard to keep up with the rest of their teammates that were setting a fast pace in the rainy streets.
Having started first, Team Caja Rural – Seguros RGA were first across the finish line and set a time of 18:12,71 minutes. They were quickly replaced in the hotseat by Team DSM-Firmenich – they set a time that was almost 43 seconds faster than Caja Rural.
Additional teams started and several crashes occurred in the wet and slippery corners.
Ineos-Grenadiers were off to a fast start, but their rider Laurens de Plus crashed just before a corner and appeared to be suffering from back pain. The rest of the team soldiered on, but it would be a tough blow for team leader Geraint Thomas to see one of his important helpers injured.
EF Education-EasyPost set the second fastest time when they crossed the finish line. But other teams were yet to start their team time trials.
As the sun set behind the rainclouds, the Jumbo-Visma team – featuring Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard – started and set a fast pace in the rainy streets of Barcelona.
Bora-Hansgrohe set a disappointing time of 17:58,14 minutes. It did not look promising for their team leader Alexander Vlasov.
Ineos-Grenadiers lost some time in the rainy conditions, but their loss of more than twenty seconds looked manageable for Thomas. Hopefully teammate Laurens de Plus is ok and can offer valuable support for his team leader in the mountains.
Jumbo-Visma were 32 seconds slower to reach the finish line than current stage leaders DSM-firmenich. Jonas Vingegaard had suffered a flat tire during the stage and had to switch to a new Cervelo bike. The sun had now set, and it was still raining, so they had been racing under challenging conditions.
The Movistar team had performed very well in today’s team time trial challenge and were determined to obtain a great result on home soil. The team almost managed to set a faster time than Team DSM, but the Spaniards were less than a second slower than the DSM gang.
Defending Vuelta a Espana Champion Remco Evenepoel and his Soudal-QuickStep set the fourth fastest time and are now six seconds behind the winners. Evenepoel was angry when he crossed the finish line, yelled while pointing to the sky and complained about the rainy weather conditions – although the rain had affected all favorites for the overall Vuelta a Espana victory.
Team DSM won the stage 1 team time trial, Movstar finished second, while EF Education-EasyPost completed the stage podium. Soudal-QuickStep finished fourth, Groupama-FDJ, fifth, Bahrain-Victorious sixth. Ineos-Grenadiers were eighth, Bora-Hansgrohe tenth, while Jumbo-Visma finished eleventh.
Sunday’s stage 2 of Vuelta a Espana 2023 will be a 181.8-kilometer ride from Mataro to Barcelona. The stage will be contested in hilly terrain and will feature the Coll d’Estenalles (Category 2) and the Castell de Montjuic in Barcelona (Category 3, 0.9 km; 8.7% average incline). Team DSM’s Lorenzo Milesi will wear the red leader jersey in tomorrow’s stage 2.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for news from La Vuelta a Espana 2023.
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