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Vuelta a Espana 2018: Rohan Dennis wins Stage 1 time trial to earn first leader's jersey

Jack Elton-Walters
25 Aug 2018

Rohan Dennis won the short opening time trial of the 2018 Vuelta a Espana to go into the overall lead

Rohan Dennis won the Stage 1 time trial of the 2018 Vuelta a Espana and with the stage victory took the first red leader's jersey of the race. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) was second in a time of 9:45.64 and Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) completed the day's podium at 9:46.25. Neither could match Dennis's time of 9:40.

The top five finishers were all within 20 seconds of each other, with a sub-10 minute time the benchmark everyone was aiming for.

Behind these riders, those with General Classification ambitions were spread further down the finishing order. The time gaps over such a short time trial, at just 8km, will be extended or easily cancelled when the road goes up hill later in the race.

Riders such as Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Nario Quintana (Movistar) will have their work cut out over the next three weeks if they're to stand atop the podium come the final day.

Nibali, in particular, looked off his best on the short opening stage.

Stage 1 time trial goes off with few surprises

Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky) spent two hours in the leader's chair after his early time of 9:59.03 proved difficult to beat. The Dutch TT champion looked less than pleased to still be sat in the thrown rather than warming down and recovering.

Relief came when Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) posted a time of 9:56.17 to go into the lead. That time was then comprehensively toppled by Kwiatkowski.

Clearly still carrying form after helping Geraint Thomas to win the Tour de France before taking the Tour of Poland for himself, speculation surrounds just what Kwiatkowski can do at this Vuelta before his heavy racing schedule catches up with him.

European time trial champion Campenaerts ran the Team Sky man close and finished under a second down at 9:46.25.

As Campenaerts was out on the course, the day's favourite Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) rolled off the ramp and set off on his way to first place on the stage.

Nibali, who finished as runner-up overall in 2017 and was the GC winner in 2010, was the last off the ramp.

The 2018 Vuelta continues with Stage 2, which runs over 163.9km from Marbella to Caminito del Rey, and it's a lumpy affair.

The day starts with a Category 2 climb, and ascends a Category 3 climb after 117km before the Category 3 uphill run to the finish line.

The day rolls up and down between the climbs and if it had come later in the race would likely have been a day for the breakaway.

However, so early on we should see the GC favourites and stage win hopefuls all coming into the finale together before someone proves the strongest.

Look to Kwiatkowski, Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates) or Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) as the favourites for the stage but any number of others riders could be in the frame to find themselves crossing the line first.