Liquigas second, Saxo Bank third as Team Sky come in a disappointing 14th

Britain’s Mark Cavendish leads the Vuelta a Espana tonight after leading his HTC-Columbia team mates across the line as they set the fastest time in a late evening Stage 1 team time trial through the streets of Seville, in a repeat of the start of last year’s centenary Giro d’Italia in Venice when the sprinter claimed the race leader’s pink jersey following a team time trial win.

Tomorrow, however, the Manx Missile will be wearing red, the new colour for the jersey sported by the general classification in the Vuelta, replacing the gold jersey won by the now banned Alejandro Valverde following a redesign by Spanish fashion house Custo Barcelona.

We were promised a spectacular start to this year’s Vuelta in a year when the race celebrates its 75th birthday, and so it proved as the 22 teams sped round a 13.0km course illuminated by more than 1,000 floodlights brought in for the occasion, the final team home – local outfit Andalucia-Cajasur – crossing the line at around a quarter to midnight local time.

The Andalusian city is famous, of course, as the setting for Bizet’s Carmen and Seville’s streets and landmarks, including the Maestranza Bullring located next to the start ramp, provided a suitably theatrical backdrop for this March of the Pedal-Powered Toreadors.

But before we get too carried away with ourselves over flamenco and bullfighting – we’ll leave it to the locals to debate the finer points of those twin passions of theirs – tonight, appropriately enough, the spotlight was on cycling as the year’s third and final Grand Tour got under way.

The first team out on the course, which also took in the spectacular Alamillo bridge across the river Guadalquivir, was Footon-Servetto – racing next year as Geox after bringing the Italian footwear brand on board as title sponsor – who set a time of 15:03 for the 13.0km course, taken as the fifth rider crossed the line, but that was swiftly beaten by AG2R-La Mondiale, the next team down the ramp.

However it was HTC-Columbia, the sixth team to tackle the course, that set the benchmark time of 14:06, 18 seconds faster than Milram, the previous quickest team. Team Sky, one of the fancied teams ahead of the stage, finished disappointingly off the pace.

Liquigas, led by the Czech rider Roman Kreuziger, came closest to challenging HTC-Columbia’s time, crossing the line 10 seconds down on the US-based team, while Team Saxo Bank, with a line-up including world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, crossed the line in some disarray to post the third fastest time of the night.

Vuelta Stage 1 Result

1 Team HTC-Columbia 14:06
2 Liquigas-Doimo + 10
3 Team Saxo Bank + 12
4 Cervelo + 13
5 Lampre-Farese Vini + 14
6 Garmin-Transitons + 17
7 Omega P. Lotto + 17
8 Team Milram + 18
9 Team Katusha + 20
10 Quick Step + 23
11 Caisse D'Epargne + 25
12 Xacobeo-Galicia + 26
13 Euskaltel-Euskadi + 27
14 Team Sky + 28
15 Cofidis + 28
16 FDJ + 33
17 Ag2r-La_Mondiale + 33
18 Rabobank + 36
19 BboxBouygues Telecom + 39
20 Astana + 41
21 Andalucia-Cajasur + 49
22 Footon-Servetto + 57


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


jova54 [679 posts] 7 years ago

Typical, I had Cav in my original team but thought HTC had no chance in the TT so replaced him with Cancelara.

Still, better start to the Vuelta,in the top half, than TdF where I languished in the bottom quarter for the first week.