Movistar win Stage One in Jerez de la Frontera – no surprises, then.
Perhaps we could have expected more from reigning World TTT Champions, QuickStep but with Tony Martin just back after a break and a technical parcours where it would have been easy to pile up, the Belgian team took no chances and finished fifth.
Cannondale took second – it’s a long time since they won the opening TTT in the 2007 Giro – as Liquigas back then – but the combination of strong rouleurs like Bodnar and spectacular bike handlers like Sagan and Gatto gelled well.
Adam Yates again displayed his class as GreenEDGE took third despite their chrono royalty not being present.
Trek was unlucky, finishing the day in fourth but after a warm-up crash where the whole team tasted tar.
It wasn’t a good day for Sky and Chris Frooome, 27 seconds down in the middle reaches of the classement for 11th and holding off Pro Continental team MTN-Qhubeka by a mere two seconds.
Similarly, Aru’s campaign with Astana and Rodriguez’s with Katusha got off to uninspired starts whilst ‘miserable’ is probably the best word to describe Garmin’s 41 second deficit in 18th spot.
But the day belonged to the ‘Telephone Squad’ hugely motivated in ‘their’ race and starting with only one though in mind – to win.
Their press release summed it up thus:
“Just like in 2012, at home in the streets of Pamplona, the Movistar Team touched their dream at the start of the Vuelta a España and set one of their great domestiques, Basque specialist Jonathan Castroviejo, as the first leader of the 2014 race.
“The telephone squad rode brilliantly, in perfect order and picked up their own pace through the 12.6km TTT in Jerez de la Frontera, a mix of urban, technical, dangerous sections and long straights, where the squad directed by Eusebio Unzué kept always all nine men together.
“Until the very final straight, following a good intermediate check – second, just 5″ behind Cannondale Pro Cycling, Castroviejo, Valverde, Amador, Erviti, Moreno, Quintana, Izagirre, Malori and Herrada – the latter two dropping just few meters before the end after fantastic efforts – rode like one rider to take the blue and green of Movistar to their third victory in team time trials since 2011, by six seconds over the finish line, plus the 31st success of the 2014 season – just one short of their 2013 tally – by the Spanish squad in an already unforgettable season.”