The Tour Take | Vuelta a Espana Stage 1
1st – Rohan Dennis (BMC) in 10:39
2nd – Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) @ 0:06
3rd – Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) @ 0:07
Red (GC) - Rohan Dennis (BMC)
Green (Points) - Rohan Dennis (BMC)
1st – Rohan Dennis in 9:39
22nd – Damien Howson @ 0:29
32nd – Alex Edmondson @ 0:30
60th – Simon Clarke @ 0:40
82nd – Mitch Docker @ 0:46
86th – Jack Haig @ 0:48
89th – Jay McCarthy @ 0:49
97th – Richie Porte @ 0:51
102nd – Jai Hindley @ 1:02
119th – Michael Storer @ 0:59
150th – Nick Schultz @ 1:08
An 8km time trial around Malaga kicked off the action at this year’s Vuelta and it was a tough course. Starting on the coastline, the course heads out along a pier before a U-turn and ride back to the coast. After following the coastline, the riders then turned up a short climb, before descending down on to the finish. With several little kinks along the way, it was a technical course, with few spots to put the power down.
The Key Point
The climb was the key point. Starting after 4.2km, the kilometre-long climb averaged 5.5%, with sections up to 7% in the middle. The steep section didn’t last long though, and so it was a course for TT specialists
The Winning Ride
Dylan Van Baarle set the early benchmark, having started 20th of the 172 riders. Van Baarle’s time of 9:59 stood for nearly two hours until Nelson Olivieira bettered it by three seconds, and then the GC men came through.
Michael Kwiatkowski set a new time of 9:45 and looked to have snatched the win, but Rohan Dennis stormed home to take the stage by six seconds, and the Red Jersey.
3 – Rohan Dennis. Rohan came for the stage and the Jersey and he took them. Mission Accomplished.
2 - Michal Kwiatkowski. A huge win, and a warning sign that he’s switched on for his first big GC assault
1 – Victor Campenaerts. A big ride from the big Belgian, but this was his once chance to wear Red. He just missed out in the Giro’s opening ITT this year too, so it’s double disappointment
The Movers and Shakers
There weren’t any huge advantages gained in the GC, but notable rides came from Wilco Kelderman (10:02), Alejandro Valverde (10:03) Nairo Quintana (10:09). Richie Porte was on the slower end of the scale, finishing in 10:30, 51 seconds back from Kwiatkowski. He’s been struggling with gastro in recent days and talking down his chances here.
The Next Stage
The Vuelta isn’t here to make love with spiders. First road stage and we’ve already got an uphill finish. After starting in Marbella, the peloton will immediately head up a Category 2 climb to Puerto de Ojen. A rolling route sees them go up two more smallish climbs, before finishing on a final Cat 3 climb to Caminito Del Rey.
The finale averages only 3.3% for 5.1km, so expect to see some classics guys like Peter Sagan and Tiesj Benoot still hanging on, but it should be a thinned-out pack contesting the win.
Our pick is Michal Kwiatkowski – the Pole was flying at his home tour a few weeks ago and is looking like he’s back to his punchy best. He’ll fly up here, and potentially be a danger all Vuelta long.
See you back at the social club,