PAMPLONA, Spain (VN) — Movistar won the team time trial to kick off the 2012 Vuelta a España on Saturday in Pamplona.
Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo will start stage 2 in the red jersey of the overall leader.
“The first goal of Movistar was to win the opening stage because of racing at home,” said Castroviejo. “This is a beautiful moment of my life. At the meeting this morning, we didn’t speak about who should cross the line first. We only mentioned that it was a very difficult finale with cobblestones. We thought it would be tight at the end, so we’ve given 100 percent. It’s marvelous.”
Rabobank finished second at 10 seconds with Omega Pharma-Quick Step third in the same time.
Team Sky and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank finished fifth at 12 seconds and seven at 0:14, respectively, and their team leaders were content with the results.
“I’m very happy with the outcome,” said Sky’s Chris Froome. “The main goal was not to lose time and not to crash.”
Added Saxo’s Alberto Contador: “The truth is that we’ve done a very good time and I’m very happy. A 16.5km team time trial was an important day for riding a great Vuelta.”
Defending champion Juanjo Cobo of Movistar said he was pleased with the team’s victory, especially considering that issues with a wisdom tooth had hampered his preparations just over a week before the race.
“It went better than I expected. With this wisdom-tooth problem I haven’t started in the best possible shape. But I hope that little by little I’ll find my form,” he said.
The short, technical TTT saw many teams finishing with the minimum of five riders — among them Garmin-Sharp, which saw Koldo Fernandez, Thomas Dekker and Michel Kreder hit the deck in their ride.
The squad wound up next to last on the day at 1:28, in the same time as last-placed Caja Rural.
“In a curve, Koldo went underneath, slipped and took the two others down. The consequence should only be skin,” said director Allan Peiper. “It’s a little mistake that makes a bigger damage. It’s a pity because we had started well.”
The Garmins weren’t the only riders to crash on the day. Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo and Enrico Gasparotto also went down; Tiralongo finished, nursing an injured hip, while Gasparotto was sent to hospital with a suspected fracture. Also crashing were Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat) and Egoitz Garcia (Cofidis).
Sunday’s stage 2, expected to be one for the sprinters, will cover 181.4km from Pamplona to Viana. It’s a mostly flat stage, barring the category 3 ascent of La Chapela, 100km from the finish.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from Pamplona and day one of the Vuelta.