Movistar wins team time trial to start Vuelta
JEREZ, Spain (AP) — Movistar won the team time trial to start the Spanish Vuelta on Saturday, giving Nairo Quintana an early edge over the other candidates to win the three-week grand tour.
Movistar was the last team to start on the 12.6-kilometer (7.8-mile) course in the southern city of Jerez, but beat the leading time by six seconds to finish in 14 minutes, 13 seconds.
Cannondale was second and Orica GreenEdge was seven seconds back in third.
Alberto Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo was 19 seconds off Movistar’s pace. Chris Froome’s Sky was 27 seconds behind, while Joaquin Rodriguez’s Katusha was 38 seconds slower.
Contador, a two-time Vuelta winner, said he was pleased with his first competitive day of riding after recovering from a fractured shin that knocked him out of the Tour de France last month.
“It’s a good result,” said Contador. “The difference is 19 seconds, but more importantly I am happy because I was able to keep pace with my teammates and help in the time trial. And it is a good sign that my knee didn’t hurt.
“The gap doesn’t worry me much, at least not today. I am going forward day by day and we’ll see how it goes.”
Movistar’s Jonathan Castroviejo will wear the red leader’s jersey during Sunday’s second stage, a flat 174.4-kilometer (108.3-mile) ride from Algeciras to San Fernando along Spain’s southern coast.
Unlike Contador and Froome, who also withdrew from the Tour due with an injury, Quintana arrives in good health and well rested. The Colombian climber won the Giro d’Italia this year and finished last year’s Tour runnerup behind Froome.
Movistar also has Spaniard Alejandro Valverde riding on its team.
The Vuelta ends in Santiago de Compostela on Sept. 14.