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Vuelta a Espana 2019: Astana win the Stage 1 TTT to put Miguel Angel Lopez into red

Stu Bowers
24 Aug 2019

A drama filled first stage of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana, but there's a long way to go.

Astana won the Stage 1 team time trial at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana to put Miguel Angel Lopez into the first red leader's jersey.

The 2019 and 74th Vuelta a Espana got underway today in the beautiful Spanish town of Torrevieja on Spain’s Costa Blanca.

The evening conditions were near perfect, warm, dry and sunny with only a slight breeze, for an opening stage that was always likely to be a speed fest and one for the powerhouses to flex their muscles, with no significant elevation change, and only 13.4km to cover.

First team down the start ramp (which rather interestingly was made of salt) and therefore setting the benchmark time was Team Dimension Data, who covered the course in 15min25sec.

Education First were expected to be one of the faster teams and true to form were the first team to break the 15 minutes barrier with a time of 14min 58sec

The time held for a good while, and as Tejay van Garderen led the team over the line, the American was the virual red jersey.

Team Ineos, riding for the GC hopes of young British rider Tao Geoghegan Hart, and renowned super-domestique Wout Poels, looked good at the first split, but slipped away in the second half of the course.

Team Sunweb were the next to break 15minutes, but also only just, with a time of 14min56sec, edging out Education First's time by just 2 seconds to go into the hotseat. But the race was really hotting up now as the final five teams in the start house contained the big hitters.

Groupama FDJ posted a new quickest time of 14min 55sec, one second ahead of Sunweb, before Astana took the lead up a bigger notch with an impressive 14min 51sec, a powerful performance that even saw team leader, Miguel Angel Lopez, tailed off for a brief time, although he did eventually rejoin and finish with his teammates. 

TTT favourites Jumbo-Visma had a disasterous stage, with 4 riders hitting the deck after sliding out on a sharp bend, apparently the result of some water on the course.

They did their best to recover their composure, but it wasn't to be and they lost a large amount of time, definitely not what pre-race favourire Primoz Roglic would have wanted at all, finding himself starting Stage 2, 40 seconds in arrears, along with team mate Steven Kruijswijk.

Deceuninck-QuickStep were arguabky the quickest team on the road, but were held up on course by a badly parked Jumbo-Visma team car dealing with the aftermath of the incident. They ended just 2 seconds behind Astana, and would likely have won the TTT.

Although it felt like there was a lot of drama for such a short featureless stage the reality is the time gaps should not have a huge effect on the GC outcome for what will be three weeks of hard racing to come.

Stage 2 will be a tough stage, 199.6km from Benidorm to Calpe, so the real GC race should start to take shape almost immediately.

The Vuelta has started

Stage 1 of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana