Astana starts the Vuelta off with a win

Doug Pensinger

Astana have come to this Vuelta with a serious aim to bring Nibali in a position to win his second Grand Tour of the year and they got off to the best start possible. Starting last off the ramp in Vilanova de Arousa they finished the team timetrial with the fastest time, beating second placed Radioshack by ten seconds to put Janez Brajkovic in the first leader's jersey of this years race.

NetApp-Endura set an early fast time with their less famous but well drilled squad and they held the lead until Tony Martin lead his Omega Pharma team home with a 19 second advantage.  Saxo Bank came close as they squeezed into second at the time in an effort to put their GC hopes in a good position. Both Movistar and Katusha put in slightly disappointing performances for their Spanish captains while Fabian Cancellara won the internal "pull your team along"-battle with Tony Martin as he led his Radioshack team home in the lead at the time. Astana had started off slower by the first intermediate but ramped up the pace in the second half of the course to take a clear victory in the end. Finishing with six riders they looked impressive as they confirmed that both Nibali and his support riders have come here in good condition.

Stage result

1. kazAstana Pro Team 29' 59''
2. luxRadioshack Leopard a 10
3. belOmega Pharma - Quick-Step a 16
4. gbrSKY Procycling a 22
5. espMovistar Team a 29
6. denTeam Saxo - Tinkoff a 32
7. aleTeam Netapp - Endura a 35
8. usaBMC Racing Team a 36
9. ausOrica Greenedge a 45
10. nedBelkin-Pro Cycling Team a 49
11. itaLampre-Merida a 56
12. rusKatusha a 59
13. belLotto Belisol a 1:14
14. espEuskaltel - Euskadi a 1:14
15. nedVacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team a 1:18
16. fraFDJ.fr a 1:25
17. itaCannondale Pro Cycling a 1:26
18. espCaja Rural - Seguros RGA a 1:38
19. usaGarmin Sharp a 1:41
20. fraAG2R La Mondiale a 1:41
21. nedTeam Argos-Shimano a 1:53
22. fraCofidis, Solutions Credits a 1:55

General Classification:
1. SLOBRAJKOVIC, Janez 32 ASTANA PRO TEAM 29' 59''
2. ITANIBALI, Vincenzo 31 ASTANA PRO TEAM 29' 59'' + 0''
3. ITATIRALONGO, Paolo 37 ASTANA PRO TEAM 29' 59'' + 0''
4. DENFUGLSANG, Jacob 33 ASTANA PRO TEAM 29' 59'' + 0''
5. UKRGRIVKO, Andriy 34 ASTANA PRO TEAM 29' 59'' + 0''
6. ESTKANGERT, Tanel 36 ASTANA PRO TEAM 29' 59'' + 0''
7. SUICANCELLARA, Fabian 181 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 30' 09'' + 10''
8. ESPZUBELDIA, Haimar 189 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 30' 09'' + 10''
9. ESPIRIZAR, Markel 185 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 30' 09'' + 10''
10. CROKISERLOVSKI, Robert 186 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 30' 09'' + 10''

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