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Vuelta Stage 1: Don’t Lose the Wheel

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Cycling: 72Nd Tour Of Spain 2017 / Stage 1 Photo by CF/Getty Images

I used to think I loved team time-trials. I didn’t, as it happens. What I loved was the start of a Grand Tour, which very often in the Giro and Vuelta comes in team time-trial form. In reality, they are a pretty strange way to decide who gets the first leader’s jersey of the race. Do teams always have a guy they designate to cross the line first? Because that’s a pretty easy thing to ‘forget.’ Anyway, this Vuelta once again will start with the team test. It’s pretty low stakes at only thirteen kilometres: what will even the most ill-equipped GC contenders lose? A minute? It’s not even particularly technical and it certainly isn’t hilly so as these hellish TTTs go, it’s a pretty tame one. Here is the map:

And here is the profile:

There are not a huge amount of geographical features to speak of, there is no broader context to go into so let’s look at the contenders: Jumbo-Visma are the obvious favourites. They’re packing Tony Martin, Primoz Roglic and other good engines against some other squads with lesser lights of the time-trialling world. Movistar have been good in Vuelta TTTs in the past but simply don’t have the riders to bring this one home leaving Ineos as the only other real contender. However, the Dutch team should have too much. It’ll be tight at the top, and indeed the middle, with all this not being too consequential in the long run.