The Rabobank boys sat on their “hotseats’ for over 30 minutes, as team after team came close to their time of 19 minutes and 1 second for the opening stage of the 2012 Vuelta, but failed to surpass it.

When Team Sky arrived and just missed the target time by a couple of seconds and then Bert’s Saxo-Tinkoff boys were four seconds too slow, the relief on the faces of Dutchmen Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam was there for all to see.

In the end, it was the very last team on the road, Spanish squad Movistar, who blasted over the line in Pamplona’s famous bull-ring with the required five riders and posted the fastest time – by a huge (for today at any rate) margin of 10 seconds.

The Movistar boys hadn’t preplanned who would lead the team over the line, but no-one minded when one of the team workhorses, man-in-form, Jonathan Castroviejo, who had been crucial in pulling the squad along at an average of 31mph, hit the front on the slight rise towards the stadium, and was strong enough to stay there all the way to the line.

The organisers seemed to adjust the times of several teams, presumably once the time of the fifth rider had been factored in, meaning that Omega-Pharma QuickStep, Rabobank, and BMC all finished on the same time, 10 seconds back.

Big losers today on a substantially flat course which took in a lot of the small twisty streets well known for the annual encierrothe running of the bulls, were the Garmin-Sharp team, who suffered a crash of three riders and ended up almost a minute and a half off the pace. Omega-Pharma riders Tony Martin and Zdenek Stybar also suffered a mishap, by following one of the motorcycle cops in front of the team who mistakingly took a wrong exit on one of the roundabouts, perhaps causing their team to lose the win.

Race Leader for tomorrow therefore is the 25 year old Castroviejo. Small, fiesty and strong, (and apparently double-jointed as well), Castroviejo has been targeting the Vuelta all year, and showing a good progression throughout the season.

Movistar’s Jonathan Castroviejo leads the team to the win in the first stage of La Vuelta. Photo©Reuters/Felix Ordonez.

in 2008 Castrviejo turned pro for the Orbea Pro-Continental team, but it was in 2009 that he took his breakthrough victory in the fifth stage of the Tour de l’Avenir (with certain messers van Garderen and Kennaugh also in the top ten that day).

Signing for Euskaltel – Euskadi in 2010 meant that Castroviejo’s programme stepped up a level, and his performances had to as well – but 10th place in the prologue of the Eneco Tour that year gave notice of the Biscayan’s superb time trialling ability; a talent he didn’t know he had, but which he’s learned to tap into and develop.

Castroviejo trains behind his scooter at 60kph on his TT bike. That’s not easy.

First in stage 1 Tour de Romandie and in stage 1 of the Tour of the Community of Madrid last year showed that Castroviejo was developing nicely as a roadman, but he signalled his class in the time trial discipline by securing Spain a place in the London Olympic time trial by placing 11th in the World Championship, only 3 minutes 34 seconds down on winner Tony Martin.

A switch to Movistar this year brought a whole ton of work for the various team leaders in the races, but also a thirteenth overall in the Tour of Austria when left to chase his own goals was enough of an indication of great form for the Spanish coach Jose Luis de Santos to get in touch with an offer.

Castroviejo was a late replacement in the Road Race in London, but had earned his place (and the Spanish berth) in the Time Trial.

Castroviejo was only asked five days before the Olympics began if he would take a break from his high-altitude Vuelta preparation and travel to London to stand-in for injured Samuel Sanchez, Olympic Champion in 2008, in the Road Race.

Not only did he agree, he got himself into the early break and later in the race, when Valverde and Leon Sanchez got up to the front, Castroviejo worked himself into the ground to ensure that the GB team – working for Cavendish – didn’t get back on terms.

Despite that huge effort, a few days later Castrviejo finished the Olympic Time Trial with a fine ninth place a mere 2 minutes 49 seconds behind Wiggins.

Sixth overall in the Eneco Tour recently demonstrated that Castroviejo’s preparations for the Vuelta were bang-on track, and perhaps to show his thanks for the work done in the Olympic Road Race, Valverde was one of the first to give Castroviejo a huge congratulatory hug today, before he climbed onto the podium to receive the race leader’s jersey.

Miguel Indurain is on hand to applaud Castrviejo in the leaders jersey.

 

Results - La Vuelta a España 2012 - Stage 1

Stage Result

1 Movistar Team 0:18:51
2 Omega Pharma – Quickstep 0:00:10
3 Rabobank Cycling Team
4 BMC Racing Team
5 SKY Procycling 0:00:12
6 Lotto Belisol Team
7 Team Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:00:14
8 Katusha Team 0:00:15
9 Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:28
10 Orica Greenedge 0:00:33
11 Astana Pro Team 0:00:34
12 AG2R La Mondiale
13 Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:35
14 Liquigas – Cannondale 0:00:41
15 Cofidis, le credit en ligne 0:00:47
16 Lampre – ISD 0:00:54
17 Radioshack – Nissan 0:00:55
18 FDJ – Big Mat 0:00:57
19 Team Argos – Shimano 0:00:59
20 Andalucia 0:01:01
21 Garmin – Sharp 0:01:27
22 Caja Rural

General Classification

1 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:18:51
2 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:01
3 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04
7 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:10
8 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
9 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
10 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
11 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
12 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
13 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
14 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
15 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
16 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
17 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
18 Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
19 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
20 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
21 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
22 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
23 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling 0:00:12
24 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
25 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
26 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
27 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling
28 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
29 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
30 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
31 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
32 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
33 Joost Van Leijen (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team
34 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:13
35 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:00:14
36 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
37 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
38 Bruno Pires (Por) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
39 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
40 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:15
41 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team
42 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
43 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team
44 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team
45 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team
46 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol Team 0:00:17
47 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:28
48 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
49 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi
50 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
51 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
52 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:31
53 Allan Davis (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge 0:00:33
54 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge
55 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge
56 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge
57 Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eri) Orica – GreenEdge
58 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:34
59 Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team
60 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
61 Egor Silin (Rus) Astana Pro Team
62 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team
63 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
64 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
65 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
66 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
67 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
68 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:00:35
69 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
70 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
71 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
72 Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team
73 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:37
74 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:00:41
75 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
76 Tiziano Dall’antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
77 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
78 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
79 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
80 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale
81 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:45
82 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:47
83 Yohann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
84 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
85 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
86 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
87 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:00:54
88 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre – ISD
89 Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre – ISD
90 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre – ISD
91 Morris Possoni (Ita) Lampre – ISD
92 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan 0:00:55
93 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
94 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
95 Tiago Machado (Por) Radioshack-Nissan
96 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Radioshack-Nissan
97 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:57
98 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
99 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
100 David Boucher (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
101 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) FDJ-Big Mat
102 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge
103 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano 0:00:59
104 Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano
105 John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
106 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Argos-Shimano
107 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Argos-Shimano
108 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol Team 0:01:00
109 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Andalucia 0:01:01
110 Pablo Lechuga Rodriguez (Spa) Andalucia
111 Jose Vicente Toribio Alcolea (Spa) Andalucia
112 Adrian Palomares Villaplana (Spa) Andalucia
113 Jesus Rosendo Prado (Spa) Andalucia
114 Sergio Carrasco Garcia (Spa) Andalucia
115 Javier Chacon (Spa) Andalucia
116 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Andalucia
117 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:01:05
118 Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:01:06
119 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:07
120 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:08
121 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
122 Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:01:10
123 Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Spa) Andalucia
124 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:12
125 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:01:13
126 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica – GreenEdge 0:01:17
127 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
128 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
129 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:18
130 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin – Sharp 0:01:27
131 Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin – Sharp
132 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin – Sharp
133 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin – Sharp
134 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin – Sharp
135 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
136 Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Caja Rural
137 Hernani Broco (Por) Caja Rural
138 Danail Andonov Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural
139 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Caja Rural
140 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural
141 Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural
142 Florent Barle (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:01:32
143 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:35
144 Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural 0:01:38
145 Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:01:39
146 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Radioshack-Nissan 0:01:40
147 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:01:50
148 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:53
149 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
150 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team
151 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank 0:01:58
152 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
153 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Argos-Shimano 0:01:59
154 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:01
155 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
156 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
157 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
158 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
159 Aitor Galdos Alonso (Spa) Caja Rural
160 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha Team 0:02:02
161 Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team
162 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:03
163 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
164 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:02:05
165 Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica – GreenEdge 0:02:15
166 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:02:16
167 Julian Dean (NZl) Orica – GreenEdge 0:02:20
168 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Radioshack-Nissan 0:02:23
169 Laurent Didier (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan
170 Grégory Rast (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan
171 Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:32
172 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:33
173 Danny Pate (USA) Sky Procycling
174 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling
175 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team 0:02:34
176 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team
177 Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:02:43
178 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:47
179 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
180 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Lampre – ISD 0:02:52
181 Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) Lampre – ISD
182 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:58
183 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin – Sharp 0:03:05
184 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre – ISD
185 Davide Vigano (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:03:08
186 Cheng Ji (Chn) Argos-Shimano 0:03:17
187 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos-Shimano 0:03:18
188 Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
189 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:03:24
190 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team 0:03:25
191 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
192 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-Big Mat
193 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin – Sharp 0:03:36
194 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team 0:03:40
195 Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural 0:03:42
196 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin – Sharp 0:04:05
197 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin – Sharp 0:04:31