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Vuelta a Espana 2018 - Stage 1 preview: Race to start with 8km time-trial

Vuelta a Espana 2018 to start with 8km individual time-trial in Malaga

Stage 1 report: Rohan Dennis opening time trial to earn first leader's jersey  

The 2018 Vuelta a Espana, which kicks off this Saturday, will start with an 8km individual time-trial in the city of Malaga. The riders will finish on the marbled Calle Larios. 

The Spanish Grand Tour will start with arace against then clock for the first time since 2009, taking the riders from the Centre Pompidou before finishing on the Calle Larios, Malaga's famous marbled flooring.

This will bring an end to an eight-year tradition of beginning the three-week race around Spain with a team time trial.

This change is reported to have occurred in a push to give the race fresh appeal, according to reports in Spanish newspaper Diario AS which came around at the time of the route announcement.

In 2009, the last time that the Vuelta began with an individual time-trial, Fabian Cancellara beat his Classics rival Tom Boonen to the race's first red jersey in a 4.5km prologue around the Dutch town of Assen.

The individual ride against the clock will give a TT specialist the chance to wear the red leader's jersey, even if they don't hold a realistic chance of winning the overall.

A favourite for Stage 1 of the 2018 Vuelta a Espana could be Michal Kwiatkowski who played a pivotal role in Team Sky's Tour de France win before gaining personal glory at the Tour of Poland.

Stage 1 report: Rohan Dennis opening time trial to earn first leader's jersey  

Current Vuelta champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) took the 2017 General Classification to secure a historic Tour-Vuelta double - joining only Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil in this achievement.

He then went on to win the 2018 Giro d'Italia and come third in the 2018 Tour de France; four consecutive Grand Tour podiums, which is unprecendented in the modern era.

After such a heavy racing schedule, Froome will not be defending his Vuelta title but will instead make a rare visit to the UK to ride the Tour of Britain alongside Tour de France winning teammate Geraint Thomas.

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