Vuelta Stage 1 Preview

A team time trial to start the Vuelta in Ourense, billed as the thermal spa capital of Galicia and a chance for the bigger and better teams to turn up the heat on their weaker rivals right from the start.

The Route: remember last year’s team time trial? The less said about the sea-side course the better because once the riders discovered the route they protested and the stage became a procession. It was a hiccup but revealing for the way nobody cared about the course until a couple of days before the race started; if this was the Tour de France it would have been reconned by several teams during the winter. No worries this time with a regular course that’s near water – a large artificial lake – but with ordinary roads.

It’s 29.4km and rises and falls more than the profile suggests but is still one for the big teams with powerful riders.

The Contenders: Movistar might not be the obvious choice for a team time trial but they’re at home and have a very strong team for this race – Jonathan Castroviejo was impressive in Rio – and they won the Vuelta opener in 2014.

Team Sky have some powerful riders including Chris Froome fresh (or should that be stale?) from Rio but this isn’t their A-team for a discipline like this, there’s no Ian Stannard or Geraint Thomas so Froome, Kwiatkowski, König and Puccio represent the powerhouses.

BMC Racing have Silvan Dillier out from the Rio velodrome where he rode the team pursuit only he’ll find today’s stage has more of a mix of team mates with the likes of Darwin Atapuma to carry.

Astana and Etixx-Quickstep should be close too, they have some strong riders while watch Tinkoff and Lotto-Jumbo to see if they can limit the damage and make the top third of the field. Orica-BikeExchange used to be a strong pick but as they blossom into a team built for stage racing in the mountains they have fewer of the team pursuit backbone but the likes of Damian Howson, Sam Bewley and Svein Tuft bring plenty of power.

Team Sky, BMC Racing
Orica-BikeExchange, Astana, EQS, Lotto-Jumbo

Weather: sunshine and clouds and a top temperature of 26°C for the early starters.

TV: Bora-Argon 18 are the first team off at 6.26pm Euro time and Tinkoff go last at 7.50pm and they’re expected to finish at 8.20pm. It’s on Eurosport and you can rely on Cyclingfans and for links to feeds and streams.

14 thoughts on “Vuelta Stage 1 Preview”

  1. As you say, a large advantage for the big teams, which they don’t need and which doesn’t help the closeness of the racing at all. Odd how ASO persist with this in the Vuelta and yet not in the Tour – and having it on the first day every year is getting very old.

  2. I wasn’t sure if you’d be doing daily previews this Vuelta so very pleased to see that you are, thanks!
    Being theoretically English perhaps I should be cheering for Yates but I suspect he will be racing for experience here. I’m also 25% Dutch so will be rooting for Lotto-Jumbo today and Kruijswijk for the GC, hopefully challenged right to the end by I guess Contador and Chaves and a top ten of the damned…

    • It’s funny to see Yates’ (recent) positive so easily forgotten and not mentioned, and Contador’s and Valverde’s being still mentioned this year.

        • Why?

          This is classic double standard of British & Australian media.

          During the Olympics, these medias decided to have a full bash at Sun Yang who was in exactly the same situation as Yates and celebrate the ignorant bully that is Mack Horton. And now they decided that Yate’s situation is perfectly normal and forgivable.

          If Horton wants to pretend that his anti-doping stance and the way he treat people is fair, purely dependent on what they did and not dependent on their nationality or skin colour, then he should have the courage to go down to Yates and tell him that he is a drug cheat in his face.

          For the record, based on the evidence I have, I believe Yates is innocent and his blunder was an administrative error by his doctor. But then again, it’s about fairness and treating people the same here. If Sun got that treatment because his doctor made an mistake, then Yates should get the same.

          • If the British media were trying to “have a full bash at Sun Yang… and celebrate… Mack Horton” they haven’t done a very good job of it – I’ve not heard mention of either of them until the comment above. As far as I can see, the only non-British athletes they’ve been at all interested in are Usain Bolt ( hurrah!), Justin Gatlin (boo!), Michael Phelps (hurrah!), and the Aussie swimmers (boo!). Beyond that, they only seem to care about Team GB’s latest medal winners.

          • The media’s “full bash” at Sun Yang wasn’t because he served a ban, the British media at least were more concerned that he served the three-month ban and the Chinese didn’t report it until afterwards, which is against WADA’s rules.

            Sun Yang tested positive for Trimetazidine, which he had been taking for heart palpitations since 2008, and which had been added to the banned list 4 months prior to the failed test. The “Sharapova situation” it seems.

    • During the Giro, as Kruijswijk was impressing us all with his climbing skills, I found myself wondering how he’d do against the top competition in the world. Well now we’ll have our answer! Here’s to a podium finish (at least) for our favorite coat hanger.

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