Rohan Dennis (BMC) claimed the first leader’s jersey in the Vuelta a España as his BMC team took the win in the hotly contested opening team time trial. The team set the fastest time of the day, completing the 13.7 kilometre course in 15:58, the only team to crack 16 minutes.
Quick-Step Floors finished six seconds down in second place, tied on time with Team Sunweb in third.
Of the major general classification contenders, Chris Froome (Sky) is in the best position, with his team finishing in fourth, nine seconds off the winning time. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) finds himself 31 seconds off the race lead, and more importantly 23 seconds behind Froome, with Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) 35 seconds off the race lead, Fabio Aru (Astana) 41 seconds back, and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 46 seconds back.
Bora-Hansgrohe set the early mark with a time of 16:19, putting their overall contender Rafal Majka in a good position, but Team Sunweb beat that time by 15 seconds to take the hot seat from Bora. However, with the main team time trial teams still to come, it was expected that the likes of Sky, Quick-Step, and BMC would challenge the time. Quick-Step did not disappoint, with a very narrow beating of Sunweb’s time, besting them by around half a second. Out on the course, BMC looked like the only team likely to challenge Quick-Step for the top step, and so they did, stopping the clock in 15:58 and becoming the first team to dip under the 16 minute barrier.
Out on course things did not go smoothly for all the teams, with George Bennett’s LottoNL-Jumbo squad being among the teams to have their efforts disrupted by crashes as the technical course took its toll. LottoNL-Jumbo lost two riders early on in their effort, forcing the rest of the team to work much harder to try and maintain a high pace, and Bennett was a victim of that, dropping off the pace towards the latter part of their effort after pushing hard earlier on.
Among the four Kiwis taking part in the race, Tom Scully (Cannondale-Drapac) is best placed, finishing with his team to record a time 46 seconds down on the stage winner. Aaron Gate (Aqua Blue Sport) is next, 1:04 down after doing a lot of work for his team early on, while George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished 1:10 down. Sam Bewley (Orica-Scott) also did a lot of work for his team early on, coming in on his own with a time 1:20 down on the stage winners.