Miguel Angel Lopez will wear the first red leader’s jersey at the Vuelta a España after his Astana team won the opening team time trial in Torrevieja.
The team covered the 13.4km in 14’51” to beat Deceuninck – Quick Step by 2” and Team Sunweb by 5”. The young Colombian climber will enjoy a Grand Tour leader’s jersey for the first time in his career as he sets his eyes on the overall podium in Madrid. Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk lost 40” after riding through a nightmare first stage for the Dutch squad.
Dimension Data were the first to start and they set a first reference of 15’25” and held the hot seat for about ten minutes, until CCC Team clocked 15’06”. Another ten minutes later, Tejay Van Garderen’s EF Education First were the first to break the 15’ with a time of 14’58”.
Team Sunweb rode even better: 14’56”, enough for them to finish on the podium, but not to fend off Astana (14’51”). Miguel Angel Lopez led the kazakh team through the line to claim the first red jersey as Deceuninck – Quick Step finished 2” behind them.
Jumbo-Visma were aiming for glory but their shot at glory was quickly hampered by Sepp Kuss’ mechanical inside the first kilometre. The Dutch squad was trailing by 7” in the intermediate point but they missed a curve in the second part and both Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk went down. They got back to Tony Martin, George Bennett and Robert Gesink, the only riders who didn’t crash, and lost 40” on the line.
Miguel Ángel López: “I’m very happy because we’ve done things well. It’s been thanks to the whole team, to everyone’s effort, that we took this victory. We didn’t make a choice (as to who would cross the line first). It happened on the fly. I was 2nd behind Gorka (Izagirre) when we entered the last curve and he let me pass so I would ride the last 150 metres. We’re very happy and we’re going to enjoy every moment La Vuelta 19 gives us. We’ve worked well in the past years and the time has come (to enjoy). We have the red jersey and we’ll go with tranquility because I have a great team to support me.”