Vuelta a España 2013 Stage 1
Vilanova de Arousa – Sanxenxo TTT 27.4km
Team time trials, TTTs for short, are as hard on teams as they are beautiful to watch. All nine riders start together, and have to work in perfect harmony, relaying each other the whole distance. Teams that ride close, smooth, can find the fastest lines through turns, and understand how to change their formation for the wind, have an advantage on teams that are stronger.
Knowing that teamwork is essential to success, the Cannondale Pro Cycling team rode the 27.4km (17.1mi) course twice before the race started. They first rolled easy on their road bikes, and then reconnoitered on their time trial bikes. The reason is that team leader Ivan Basso believes he has a shot at overall victory, and the team doesn't want to concede a single second to his rivals. Supporting Basso in his quest are: the Canadian Guillaume Boivin, Italians Tiziano Dall'Antonia, Paolo Longo Borghini, Daniele Ratto, Argentine Lucas Sebastian Haedo, Pole Maciej Paterski, Colombian Jose Cayetano Sarmiento Tunarrosa, and Australian Cameron Wurf. It's a team of support riders, divided between those who specialize in flatlands and mountain ridng.
Early starter Omega Pharma-Quickstep is the World Champion in this discipline. They started fast and smooth, with World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin marshaling marshalling the team. They set the fastest intermediate time as they burned off four of their nine. As the fifth rider across the line is where the time is taken, they finished with the bare minimum, but took the lead and relaxed in the hot seats.
Cannondale started fifteenth of 22 teams. The team started so fast that gaps opened up between the riders shortly after the start. But they calmed down, regrouped, and got on with their ride. They lost three riders early, and were 39 seconds down on Omega Pharma at the 20km (12.5mi) point. The remaining six riders rode it home with Ivan Basso dragging the squad across the line 70 seconds down on Omega Pharma.
As the final teams streaked across the line, RadioShack-Leopard, helmed by one of the best TT riders of the past decade, Fabian Cancellara, lead his team to beat Omega Pharma by two seconds at the line. And they did it while keeping six riders together.
No sooner than RadioShack got comfortable with the idea of winning the stage, the very last squad, the Astana team of Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali, annihilated all teams at the very last time check and rode to an emphatic victory of 10 seconds, with Jani Brakjovic the first rider across the line and thus the first race leader of the 2013 Vuelta.
With the TTT out of the way, Basso and his Cannondale Pro Cycling teammates focus on tomorrow's stage. Stage Two goes from Pontevedra to Alto Do Monte Da Groba on a 176.8km trek. The road isn't brutal, but does finish with an 11km (6.8mi) climb. At a relatively moderate 5.4% gradient, a group will probably come to the finish together, but every team leader will need to be in that group or will see his hopes for victory in Madrid vanish with three weeks remaining.
Vuelta a España 2013
Stage 1 Vilanova de Arousa – Sanxenxo TTT
1. Astana in 0:29:59
2. RadioShack-Leopard at 0:00:10
3. Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:16
4. Sky Procycling 0:00:22
5. Movistar Team 0:00:29
17. Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:26
1. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:29:59
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team same time
3. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team same time
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team same time
5. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team same time
General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling
95. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:01:26
96. Cameron Wurf (Aus) same time
97. Guillaume Boivin (Can) same time
98. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) same time
99. Maciej Paterski (Pol) same time
100. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) same time
161. Daniele Ratto (Ita) 0:03:42
162. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) same time
163. José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) same time