1. Leopard Trek (16min 30secs)
2. Liquigas (+4)
3. HTC-Highroad (+9)
20. Team Sky (+42)
Leopard Trek took victory in the opening team time trial at the Vuelta a Espana to place Jakob Fuglsang into the race lead. The Luxembourg squad finished with five riders but clocked a time of 16 minutes and 30 seconds to edge out Liquigas and ensure the Dane became the first recipient of the red leader’s jersey. Team Sky endured a difficult start to the race and dropped time following a crash in the opening stages.
Chris Sutton, Team Sky Rider:
“That wasn’t the best of starts to be honest. We’d gone over everything a lot in the past few days and thought we had it down to a tee. We’d changed the order a few times and got it perfect, and we started out great.
“Kurt led us out because he’s so experienced at these things. We began by taking things easy, but not too easy, set a good tempo, and it was all going well until there was a touch of wheels or something which meant Zandio had to unclip. Kurt also crashed at that point which was hard because it meant everyone behind him had to chase a couple of bike-lengths to get back on.
“We regrouped as best we could and gave it everything, and although we lost 42 seconds, over a three-week race that’s going to be insignificant. It would’ve been nice if we could have got a result for Bradley, but we all gave it 100% and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day.
“Zandio deserves special praise because he did brilliantly to get back on after unclipping. He gave a huge effort to chase up that hill and having him there with us was a big bonus.
“Tomorrow’s stage is one that I’ll be looking to do well in as a sprinter. I’m feeling strong so I’ll try and get in the mix and test out the legs and see how I go. I’ve done a few sprints in training over the past few days and have been hitting some good numbers, but obviously in a race situation after 174km anything can happen. I’d love to get a stage win but there’s so many good sprinters here so we’ll have to see. I’m just grateful to get the opportunity to get the chance to go toe-to-toe with those guys in a Grand Tour.”
Steven de Jongh, Team Sky Sports Director:
“It was a really tough start.
“We lost Kurt after a kilometre. He came down and Zandio was also held up. Xabier had to chase down the group after that and then in the final we were down with four guys.
“Some positive things are that Kurt is looking really fit and Bradley is looking super strong. If you look at the overall picture with some of the main contenders Bradley lost some time but to most of them he lost around 20-25 seconds. It is a loss of course and we aren’t happy with it but it could be worse. Everyone is okay so we will carry on and try to make up for it.”