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Kazakh team takes convincing 10-second win ahead of Radioshack to put Brajkovic into the first leader's jersey and get Nibali's GC campaign off to the perfect start

Photo: Sirotti

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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JAKOB FUGLSANG

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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NEWS
24.08.2013 @ 20:52 Posted by

Vincenzo Nibali got his Vuelta a Espana off to a perfect start when the Spanish grand tour kicked off with a 27,4km team time trial today. His Astana team rode a perfect race to cross the line in a time that was 10 seconds faster than the one set by Radioshack and Janez Brajkovic is now the first eader of the race as he was the first rider across the line.

 

Today Astana showed that they have brought an incredibly strong roster to this year's Vuelta a Espana in their quest to deliver Vincenzo Nibali to his second ever win in the Spanish grand tour. The Kazakh team gauged their effort perfectly on the 27,4km team time trial that kicked off the race and took a convincing win.

 

While most teams splintered to pieces along the way, Astana rode a perfect race to keep most of their troops together. At the first intermediate check, they were second behind world champions Omega Pharma-Quick Step but while the Belgian team was blown to pieces by an extremely strong Tony Martin, the Kazakhs were much more homogeneous.

 

At the second time check, their time was 8 seconds faster than the one set by their Belgian rivals and they managed to extend it even further on the final part, adding another 2 seconds to their lead. Janez Brajkovic crossed the line in first position and so the Slovenian got some encouragement in what has been a terrible season by taking the first red leader's jersey of the race.

 

Radioshack also finished the race strong to take second with Fabian Cancellara taking an immense turn on the front in the final part. The Swiss showed that he is getting into his best form for the world championships while also getting Chris Horner's and Robert Kiserlovski's GC campaigns off to a perfect start.

 

Omega Pharma-Quick Step had hoped to win the stage and put Martin in the leader's jersey and they had set best time when they crossed the line as one of the early starters. As it had been the case in the Tour, they faced a long wait in the hot seat, only to see other teams ultimately beat them.

 

Team Sky did a good ride to finish 4th and so Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran could not be too dissatisfied with their start. Movistar was hampered by bad luck when Benat Intxausti had a puncture and so lost plenty of time. That may ultimately have cost the team some time as they had to slow down on the final part to wait for their 4th and final rider, Sylwester Szmyd. They took 5th, 28 seconds behind Astana.

 

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) got his race off to a really bad start as his Katusha team was only good enough for 12th. While the placing itself if of less importance, his 59-second time loss is not. The Spaniard has plenty of time to make up in the mountains.

 

The same goes for Samuel Sanchez but his Euskaltel team had a good ride to finish 14th in a stage that didn't suit them at all. Thibaut Pinot will also be content to know his FDJ team took 16th on a stage that could have ended as a disaster.

 

The big losers were Carlos Betancur and Domenico Pozzovivo. Not much had been expected from their Ag2r team but to lose 1.41 to Nibali was certainly not part of their dream scenario. Only Argos and Cofidis set slower times than the French squad now needs to attack in the mountains.

 

They get their first chance to do so already on tomorrow's second stage which offers the fist uphill finish. A mostly flat stage finishes with an 11km climb to the finish and so the race should blow to pieces already from the very beginning.

 

A spectacular start

The 2013 Vuelta a Espana kicked off in its usual spectacular fashion with a team 27,4km team time trial in Galicia. The riders set off from a large barge to head south on a mostly flat run to Sanxenxo.

 

The first team down the ramp was NetApp-Endura who got their debut Vuelta off to a good start. The team gauged its effort well and finished with a time that was ultimately good enough for 7th.

 

BMC gets close

Tour de France TTT winners Orica-GreenEdge had not brought their specialists to the race and so it was no surprise that they were unable to match their German rivals. Argos-Shimano was far off the mark while BMC did a good performance to finish a narrow second, just 1 second behind NetApp.

 

As expected, Caja Rural, Cofidis and Vacansoleil were not in the mix and so all eyes were on world champions Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Martin blew his own team to pieces and so they were unable to keep up the tempo throughout the entire course. However, they set the best time at the finish, 19 seconds faster than NetApp.

 

Saxo-Tinkoff slots into 2nd

Lampre did a solid ride to take 11th at day's end while Ag2r had a disastrous ride. The first team to challenge the leaders was Saxo-Tinkoff but the Danish team's time was 16 seconds slower than the one set by Martin's team.

 

Lotto-Belisol and FDJ were not in the mix but Sky did a good ride, starting off slowly to gradually increase their pace as they approached the finish. They cross the line in 2nd place and ultimately finished 4th.

 

Garmin crash

Cannondale had a disastrous ride while Garmin had bad luck with a big crash that forced them to slow down to wait for their riders. Euskaltel and Belkin were both in the middle of the table and all eyes were now focused on Radioshack.

 

At the final intermediate check, the team was 2 seconds slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step but Cancellara did a massive work in the final part. When they crossed the line, they had taken the lead, lowering the mark by 9 seconds.

 

No luck for Katusha and Movistar

Katusha had an uneven ride and had to slow down for their fifth rider, Daniel Moreno. Movistar started out fast but faded towards the end after the loss of Intxausti.

 

As the final starter, Astana was now the only team which could beat Radioshack. At the first check, they were 10 seconds behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2nd. While the Belgian team faded, the Kazakhs kept the pace all the way to the line, took the win, put Brajkovic in red and gave Nibali the perfect start to his race.

 

Result:

1. Astana 29:59

2. Radioshack+ 10

3. Omega+ 16

4. Sky+ 22

5. Movistar+ 29

6. Saxo Bank+ 32

7.Netapp+ 35

8. BMC+ 36

9. Orica+ 45

10. Belkin+ 49

11. Lampre+ 56

12. Katusha+ 59

13. Lotto+ 1:14

14. Euskaltel+ 1:14

15. Vacansoleil+ 1:18

16. FDJ.fr+ 1:25

17. Cannondale+ 1:26

18.Caja Rural+ 1:38

19. Garmin+ 1:41

20. AG2R+ 1:41

21. Argos+ 1:53

22. Cofidis+ 1:55

 

General classification:

1. Janez Brajkovic 29.59

2. Vincenzo Nibali

3. Paolo Tiralongo

4. Jakob Fuglsang

5. Andriy Grivko

6. Tanel Kangert

7. Fabian Cancellara +0.10

8. Haimar Zubeldia

9. Markel Irzizar

10. Robert Kiserlovski

 

Teams classification:

1. Astana 29:59

2. Radioshack+ 10

3. Omega+ 16

4. Sky+ 22

5. Movistar+ 29

6. Saxo Bank+ 32

7.Netapp+ 35

8. BMC+ 36

9. Orica+ 45

10. Belkin+ 49

11. Lampre+ 56

12. Katusha+ 59

13. Lotto+ 1:14

14. Euskaltel+ 1:14

15. Vacansoleil+ 1:18

16. FDJ.fr+ 1:25

17. Cannondale+ 1:26

18.Caja Rural+ 1:38

19. Garmin+ 1:41

20. AG2R+ 1:41

21. Argos+ 1:53

22. Cofidis+ 1:55

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