Vuelta a España 2021
Primož Roglič won the opening time trial of the 2021 Vuelta a España, laying down an early marker to his GC rivals as he took the red jersey.
The last rider off the start ramp, the Slovenian defending champion crossed the line six seconds faster than Astana’s Alex Aranburu to deny him a maiden Grand Tour stage victory.
Of the early general classification differences, Roglič leads 10th place Aleksandr Vlasov by 14 seconds, DSM’s Romain Bardet by an extra three, with Enric Mas (Movistar) and Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) a further few seconds adrift.
The 2021 Vuelta a España kicked off with a short time trial in the picturesque setting of the Burgos cathedral, the first half steep in parts before a downhill and flatter run-in to the finish.
Adam Yates set an early benchmark, the quickest up the climb to Alto del Castillo before crossing the line in 8:52.
A good start for the Brit and his GC ambitions, as Fabio Aru, in his final Grand Tour, was 10 seconds down on Yates at the KOM, Bahrain Victorious’ Mikel Landa a further second slower at this point. At the finish, Landa had conceded 19 seconds to Yates.
Soon, Yates’ Ineos team-mate Dylan van Baarle was across the line, having made up time in the latter part of the course to clock a new fastest 8:43, eight seconds quicker.
Before long Alex Aranburu had usurped Van Baarle, knocking a further five seconds off the Dutchman’s time, a blistering effort by the Spaniard, Bahrain’s Gino Mäder then slotting into provisional second place.
Another Brit, Lotto-Soudal’s Matthew Holmes, was one second down on Yates up the climb, keeping his compatriot in the KOM leader’s hot seat despite having set off early to try and get back to the hotel at a reasonable hour.
Holmes faded in the second half, however, finishing 50 seconds adrift, before Trek-Segafredo’s Giulio Ciccone finished seven seconds slower than Yates in the early sort-out of the GC contenders.
EF’s Tom Scully then soared into second behind Aranburu, four seconds down, Ineos’ Pavel Sivakov going well and getting very close to Yates’ time at the top of the climb, eventually slotting into the provisional top 10.
Tom Pidcock then rolled off the start ramp, opening his Grand Tour story, nine seconds down on Yates’ time on the climb, before Sepp Kuss and Rui Oliveira set the two fastest times at the summit, the latter rider fading into the finish.
Pidcock stopped the clock 30 seconds off the fastest time, a respectable effort, before Kuss finished nine seconds in arrears to Aranburu, Michael Matthews out on the course and putting in a strong showing.
Matthews crossed the line eight seconds down, as behind Steven Kruijswijk, Angel Madrazo and Richard Carapaz subsequently set the fastest times on the climb.
Miguel Ángel López finished 15 seconds in arrears to Aranburu, Richard Carapaz going five seconds slower than Yates, as Romain Bardet got underway.
Now the top GC men we’re off the start ramp, Aleksandr Vlasov crossing the line with the fastest time of the overall contenders so far, Enric Mas overcooking a corner but staying upright.
Hugh Carthy then came across the line with a modest time, 26 seconds down on Aranburu, as Primož Roglič was the final rider off the start ramp.
Jan Tratnik got close to Aranburu’s time but missed out by a couple of seconds, as Roglič looked to be the only rider getting close to denying the Spaniard.
Enric Mas came across the line 12 seconds down, a good result after his near-miss, Bernal nine seconds slower, as Roglič came across the line to snatch the stage from Aranburu, six seconds quicker to take the first red jersey of the race.
Stage 1 result:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 8:32
2. Alex Aranburu (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at six seconds
3. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious, at 8s
4. Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education-Nippo, at 10s
5. Josef Černy (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at same time
6. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers, at 11s
7. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 12s
8. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education-Nippo, at 13s
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange, at 14s
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech, at same time