Vuelta a España Stage 1 Preview

¡ Vamos a la playa ! The race starts with a quick tour of Malaga’s sea front and beach, today is a short time trial to give the GC some order.

The Route: don’t call it a prologue, that label applies to courses under 8km. That bump on the profile above is real but nothing more than a long drag up away from the beach and it’s all on big wide roads.

The Contenders: Rohan Dennis is the prime pick. The Australian has won prologues before and has since refined his aerodynamics even more where the fast course suits him and he’s helped further by a relatively light field with few short distance specialists. BMC Racing team mate Richie Porte is handy in a time trial and could be a contender but has been sick with stomach strife and so could be weaker than usual, check for updates during the day.

Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) won the European TT title Eneco Tour TT but seems better over mid to long efforts but should still be very close.

Team Sky have a trio in Jonathan Castroviejo, Dylan van Baarle and Michał Kwiatkowski and the Pole is often hit or miss, capable of blitzing the course as he is of being way off even when on form and he’s just won the Tour of Poland.

Among the outsiders Movistar’s hopes might rest on Nelson Oliveira, the four times Portuguese time trial champion and still an outside pick. Spanish hopes probably reside with Ion Izaguirre of Bahrain-Merida. Mitchelton-Scott’s Alex Edmondson is a former track pursuit rider but has yet to win outside of Australia so this would be an upset. Matthias Brändle (Trek-Segafredo) can win TTs but it’s rare. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) can get ahead of the climbers already but winning outright is a big ask.

Rohan Dennis
Victor Campenaerts, Michał Kwiatkowski
Kelderman, Castroviejo, van Baarle, Porte

Weather: hot and sunny with a top temperature of 33°C. The light onshore breeze will drop during the day.

Tune in: the last rider should finish at 8.30pm CEST. By all means watch but scan the results afterwards if you want to ration your viewing.

21 thoughts on “Vuelta a España Stage 1 Preview”

    • I was wondering the same but TT wins are rare, he did get the Tour of Britain stage last year but his last prologue win was 2011 in the Rabobank days at the Dauphiné. Still strong for a top-10 hopefully.

    • And that was a severe beating, more than a minute difference! I think Campenaerts will be eying the longer TT more.

      How are the sprinters’ chances on this course? Sagan, Viviani, they pack some power and especially Viviani seems on form and also has ample track experience.Beating Dennis is probably too tall a task but I imagine he could suprise many today and go all in for the leaders’ jersy in the coming days.

    • This is actually more important than the semantics. If I’m correct a rider who doesn’t finish the prologue (or doesn’t make the time cut) may still take the start in the first stage. This wouldn’t be the case if this TT is the actual first stage.

  1. Why if a Prologue can be no longer than 8km do they keep doing these little opening TTs slightly longer than 8km? Is there some sort of stigma attached to having a prologue? It seems weird. Do they get more sponsorship money for having the extra stage?!

    • Presumably they just want a full stage and with so few TT kilometres in the race today counts more than, say, a 4km test. Prologues also come with other rules, eg if you crash out and don’t finish you can still start the next day, something that doesn’t apply today as it’s a proper TT stage.

  2. Excited to see how La Vuelta plays out this year. Lots of potentially refreshing scenarios on GC.

    Hard to look past Dennis for today. I wonder if, as at the Giro, he will be testing himself for a high GC again.

    Looking forward to enjoying the excellent pre and re views here.

  3. I don’t remember such a nailed on favourite for a long time. Dennis really has prologues down.
    Maybe Martin and Cancellara in they’re heyday.

    • My thinking is this Vuelta is between Lopez-SYates-Quintana unless Kwiat can surprise everyone with his climbing.

      But Pinot would be my preferred winner.

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