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Movistars steal the spotlight at the Vuelta

The Spanish Movistar team got their Vuelta assault off to a strong start, winning the opening Team timetrial in Jerez to give their captains Quintana and Valverde an advantage right from the start. Cannondale did a superb race and looked like winners until Movistar crossed the line as the last team. Jonathan Castroviejo was the happy man who will wear the leaders jersey on stage 2.

Doug Pensinger

The Spanish powerhouse Movistar is always strong in the team timetrials but often see themselves relegated to the lower podium places as some of the teams that target the discipline especially beat them. This time though they were clearly strongest bringing their whole team together onto the finishing straight in what was a very technical race.  Omega Pharma were one of the pre-race favorites but came up with a disappointing performance. Not even a strong Tony Martin could save a team that lacked some of their better TTT men. The many roundabouts and turns might have exposed the fact that they didn't bring their most experienced team. The other pre-race favotites Trek crashed in training and were perhaps unable to do themselves justice, finishing in fourth just ahead of OPQS. Orica surprised in a positive way claiming third, a mere second behind Cannondale, even while lacking many of their top TTT riders. The same should be said for Cannondale who no one had pegged as a winning candidate but their team of loyal workhorses like Bodnar, Longo-Borghini and Bennett clearly worked well as a team on the demanding course.

BMC and Garmin both recorded disappointing times for teams that normally target these occasions. But Garmin managed to avoid the Giro debacle and both teams came in with their GC hopes intact and that was probably their top concern. Getting around safely was probably top priority for many teams with GC hopefuls and that was reflected in some of the times. Sky and Chris Froome didn't impress either.

The outcome for the major GC favorites was fairly undramatic. Nairo and Valverde of course in a good spot while Joaquim Rodriguez and the Garmin duo of Martin and Talansky have most reason to be disappointed 40 seconds down on the leaders. Thibaut Pinot and Daniel Navarro were probably expecting to lose a bit of time today. In between, Contador should be quite happy with his team performance should he turn out to be in shape to contest the GC

1. espMovistar Team 14' 13''
2. itaCannondale Pro Cycling + 6''
3. ausOrica GreenEdge + 6''
4. usaTrek Factory Racing + 9''
5. belOmega Pharma - Quick-Step + 11''
6. nedTeam Giant - Shimano + 16''
7. rusTinkoff - Saxo + 19''
8. nedBelkin Pro Cycling Team + 19''
9. usaBMC Racing Team + 21''
10. itaLampre - Merida + 25''
11. gbrTeam SKY + 27''
12. rsaMTN - Qhubeka + 29''
13. kazAstana Pro Team + 30''
14. belLotto Belisol + 30''
15. fraAG2R La Mondiale + 33''
16. rusTeam Katusha + 38''
17. suiIAM Cycling + 40''
18. usaGarmin Sharp + 41''
19. + 45''
20. espCaja Rural - Seguros RGA + 48''
21. fraCofidis, Solutions Crédits + 51''
22. fraTeam Europcar + 1' 03''