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61st Vuelta a España - GT

Spain, August 26-September 17, 2006

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Stage 1 - August 26: Málaga - Málaga TTT, 7.3 km

Team CSC muy rápido

Big career moment for Sastre as he takes leader's jersey

By Shane Stokes in Málaga

Team CSC
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The date was out by just over four months but when a delighted CSC squad sang Happy Birthday to Carlos Sastre in the waiting area prior to strutting their stuff on the podium as winners of the team time trial, they were marking another significant moment in the Spanish rider's life. In crossing the line first at the end of the flat, lighting fast 7.3 kilometre test, the 31 year old took the first big race leader's jersey of his career and marked himself out as one of the big riders to watch in this Vuelta.

"I am very pleased," he said at the post-race press conference. "I have thought about wearing this jersey from when I was a very young rider. This is a great win for Team CSC, it was a really good effort from everyone today.

"We have a team that is very motivated, very strong and we showed that here. There are twenty days left of a very hard Vuelta ahead of us but it is sure that the team will work one hundred percent for the win."

CSC were off second to last and scorched the course, impressively thrashing the time of GC rivals Caisse d'Epargne - Illes Balears by seven seconds and going a further second quicker than longtime leaders Team Milram. That left just Rabobank to go, but Denis Menchov's squad was found wanting and finished back in twelfth place, giving Sastre an early lead and, more importantly, a significant psychological boost on this opening day of the race.

The Caisse D´Espagne team
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The affable Spaniard was impressed by the CSC display. "Today I just had to follow the motorbike that was my team. They were very strong but I also felt very good today and am very happy. It is the first time that I have worn a leader's jersey.

"After today there is a time difference but the first significant differences will come in the first day in the mountains. That day will be very hard…it is a very tough stage."

Sastre was asked how this compared to his fourth place finish in the Tour de France, but he said that he is completely focused on going forward rather than looking to the past. "The Tour de France finished one month ago," he answered. "I don't think about the Tour any more, we are at the Vuelta a España now and I want to think about what is ahead, in the future."

He doesn't count on his team fighting tooth and nail to defend the Maillot Oro from this point onwards. "It will be very hard to keep this leader's jersey over the next few days," he stated, knowing well that it is better to let it go and then claim it back once the road pitches skywards later in the race.

Team boss Bjarne Riis was smiling at the finish. "I am very happy. It was a fantastic win for us and the team were very strong," he told Cyclingnews. "They were very, very fast in the last three or four kilometres…it was very nice to watch. We have a very good team here at this Vuelta.

The Milram team
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

He was asked at the press conference if it was decided beforehand that Sastre would lead them home. "I think it is correct that Carlos was first over the line. We talked about that yesterday. The team will work one hundred percent for Carlos and so it is right that he is leading now."

Like the rest of the team, Stuart O'Grady was delighted with the result. "I am rapt. It is one of the best feelings, winning an event with your team-mates. It is a team effort and everyone put in one hundred percent. It is nice to win, that is for sure.

"We rode a perfect race. We took it really easy for the first kilometre, when we were going around a couple of corners heading away from the stadium, but just wound it up from there. We were going fast, very, very fast."

Caisse d'Epargne directeur sportif Alfonso Galilea was happy with his team's ride, while also being a little frustrated to lose out on the win. "We had the best time, but CSC have just gone quicker," he said at the finish. "We think that we have done a very good time time trial but CSC has come to the Vuelta with a team of very, very good time trial riders. It is a short team time trial and it is very difficult to fight against a team like that here.

"But in this moment we are happy. We will finish second or maybe third, depending on how Rabobank get on. So I think it is a very good time for us and I am happy with that."

Discovery Channel
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

How it unfolded

The first stage of the 2006 Vuelta was a rather unique affair in terms of what is customary in major stage races. It resembled a prologue in terms of its length, 7.3 kilometres, but differed significantly in that it was run off as a team time trial.

First off from the start at Málaga’s Estadio de Atletismo was the Relax-Gam team but they had the briefest of spells at the top of the leaderboard before the second team, Lampre-Fondital went a full 16 seconds quicker. There was a light breeze coming off the sea along the flat, lightning fast course and teams were exceeding 65 kilometres per hour at points, driving hard on the straight roads while holding back slightly on the few technical corners.

The sixth team off, Credit Agricole, were the next leaders but their time of 7’49 was pipped by the next team to go, namely T-Mobile. However the German squad is without their biggest hitters here and it wasn’t long before another Teutonic lot, Team Milram, went three seconds quicker. Their squad is built around super-sprinters Alessandro Petacchi, on his way back after a bad knee injury sustained in the Giro, and Erik Zabel, and flat-out speed is their speciality. Could they hold on for the win?

Carlos Sastre
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Gerolsteiner - plunged into disarray after one of the team took a bad line around a corner and wiped out captain Davide Rebellin - then Quick.Step, Saunier Duval and Euskaltel came and went before big guns Discovery Channel got under way with their GC hope Tom Danielson. They equalled Milram at the intermediate time check but were a second behind at the finish at Paseo de Los Curas/Paseo La Farola; close but no cigarillo. Alexandre Vinokourov’s Astana team were next but they too fell short, finishing five seconds adrift of the motoring milkmen.

All eyes were on the Spanish squad Caisse D’Epargne- Illes Balears and with GC hopes Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Pereiro spurring the team onwards, they scorched in to the finish to record a time of 7’43 and set a new best. Yet their celebrations were short-lived as straight away CSC tore up the course and set a phenomenal pace of 57.632 kilometres an hour to go a full seven seconds faster; the celebrations started straight away and with the final team, Rabobank, finishing 18 seconds down in twelfth place, Carlos Sastre’s men in black got off to the best possible start. One stage down, 20 to go, but they will be happy tonight.

And with good reason...
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Ed Tarwinski


1 Team CSC                                                           7.36 (57.63 km/h)
2 Caisse D'Epargne-IB                                                0.07
3 Team Milram                                                        0.08
4 Discovery                                                          0.09
5 T-Mobile Team                                                      0.11
6 Astana                                                             0.12
7 Saunier Duval-Prodir                                               0.13
8 Credit Agricole                                                        
9 Liquigas                                                               
10 Quick Step-Innergetic                                             0.15
11 Euskaltel-Euskadi                                                 0.18
12 Rabobank                                                              
13 Gerolsteiner                                                      0.19
14 Lampre-Fondital                                                   0.21
15 Bouygues Telecom                                                  0.24
16 Davitamon-Lotto                                                   0.25
17 Phonak Hearing System                                             0.27
18 Ag2R Prevoyance                                                       
19 Francaise de Jeux                                                 0.28
20 Cofidis                                                           0.30
21 Relax-GAM                                                         0.37
1 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC                                       7.36
2 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team CSC                                         
3 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                          
4 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team CSC                                       
5 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC                                          
6 Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Team CSC                                            
7 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC                                        
8 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                                       
9 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC                                   0.04
10 José Vicent Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears    0.07
11 Xabier Zandio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                    
12 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                    
13 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears               
14 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                 
15 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                     
16 Pablo Lastras (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                    
17 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram                                      0.08
18 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram                                 
19 Marco Velo (Ita) Team Milram                                          
20 Volodymyr Dyudya (Ukr) Team Milram                                    
21 Daniel Becke (Ger) Team Milram                                        
22 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Team Milram                                   
23 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Milram                                        
24 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team            0.09
25 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               
26 Benoît Joachim (Lux) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               
27 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               
28 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                
29 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team             
30 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              
31 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               
32 Joan Horrach (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                 0.10
33 Bastiaan Giling (Ned) T-Mobile Team                               0.11
34 Stephan Schreck (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                   
35 André Korff (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                       
36 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team                                       
37 André Greipel (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                     
38 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                    
39 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team                                  
40 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) T-Mobile Team                                     
41 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile Team                                  
42 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Team                            0.12
43 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana Team                                    
44 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team                                   
45 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana Team                                       
46 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana Team                                         
47 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Team                                   
48 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Astana Team                                     
49 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Astana Team                                      
50 José Antonio Redondo (Spa) Astana Team                                
51 Francisco José Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                 0.13
52 David Cañada (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                               
53 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           
54 Juan José Cobo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                             
55 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir                               
56 José Ange Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                  
57 David De La Fuente (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                         
58 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole                                    
59 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                                    
60 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Credit Agricole                                 
61 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole                                  
62 Mads Kaggestad (Nor) Credit Agricole                                  
63 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Credit Agricole                                   
64 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole                               
65 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole                                  
66 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Credit Agricole                                
67 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas                                       
68 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas                                       
69 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas                                      
70 Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas                                           
71 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas                                 
72 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas                                         
73 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                         0.15
74 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                            
75 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic                        
76 Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                             
77 José Antonio Garrido (Spa) Quick Step-Innergetic                      
78 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic                            
79 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic                            
80 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic                            
81 Alberto Benítez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                            
82 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team        0.16
83 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                0.18
84 Markel Irizar (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                 
85 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                               
86 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                
87 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                     
88 Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                   
89 Rubén Pérez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                   
90 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                                        
91 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                          
92 Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Rabobank                                         
93 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Rabobank                                        
94 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank                                       
95 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank                                         
96 Theo Eltink (Ned) Rabobank                                            
97 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank                                         
98 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                                      
99 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                
100 Andrea Moletta (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                0.19
101 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  
102 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                     
103 René Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner                                  
104 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 
105 Sven Montgomery (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                   
106 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                          0.21
107 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Fondital                                   
108 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Fondital                                  
109 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre-Fondital                                
110 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                
111 Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                 
112 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                  
113 Francesco Failli (Ita) Liquigas                                  0.22
114 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Liquigas                                       
115 Iñigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                              
116 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            0.24
117 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                 
118 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                 
119 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                  
120 Xavier Florencio (Spa) Bouygues Telecom                              
121 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                               
122 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                              0.25
123 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto                             
124 Pieter Mertens (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                 
125 Josep Jufre (Spa) Davitamon-Lotto                                    
126 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto                                 
127 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                 
128 Pierre Drancourt (Bel) Bouygues Telecom                          0.26
129 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                           0.27
130 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                          
131 Miguel A. Martín Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems             
132 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Phonak Hearing Systems                          
133 Steve Morabito (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                          
134 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                          
135 Luis Fernández Oliveira (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                 
136 Florian Stalder (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                         
137 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                  
138 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2R Prevoyance                                 
139 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                   
140 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                             
141 Iñigo Chaurreau (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                                
142 José Luis Arrieta (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                              
143 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                                
144 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                               
145 David Navas (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                                    
146 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Française des Jeux                          0.28
147 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux                                  
148 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Française des Jeux                              
149 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Française des Jeux                        
150 Eric Leblacher (Fra) Française des Jeux                              
151 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française des Jeux                              
152 Aketza Peña (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                              0.29
153 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Phonak Hearing Systems                        
154 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone            0.30
155 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone              
156 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone         
157 Luis Pérez (Spa) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                    
158 Bingen Fernández (Spa) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone              
159 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone             
160 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone             
161 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                             0.33
162 Claudio Corioni (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                
163 Enrico Poitschke (Ger) Team Milram                                   
164 Fabien Patanchon (Fra) Française des Jeux                        0.34
165 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                               0.36
166 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                
167 Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                     
168 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Française des Jeux                               
169 Mario De Sarraga (Spa) Relax-Gam                                 0.37
170 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Relax-Gam                                        
171 Jorge García (Spa) Relax-Gam                                         
172 Ángel Vallejo (Spa) Relax-Gam                                        
173 Jesús Hernández (Spa) Relax-Gam                                      
174 Nacor Burgos (Spa) Relax-Gam                                         
175 José Miguel Elias (Spa) Relax-Gam                                    
176 Raúl García De Mateo (Spa) Relax-Gam                                 
177 Ian Mcleod (RSA) Française des Jeux                              0.38
178 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                0.40
179 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas                                   0.41
180 Ángel Gómez Gómez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                         
181 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram                               0.44
182 Christophe Kern (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                           0.51
183 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step-Innergetic                          0.54
184 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            0.55
185 David George (RSA) Relax-Gam                                     1.08
186 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone          1.13
187 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone            1.22
188 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                2.50
189 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                   
1 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC                                         25 pts
2 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team CSC                                       20
3 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                        16
4 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team CSC                                     14
5 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC                                        12
6 Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Team CSC                                          10
7 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC                                       9
8 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                                      8
9 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC                                      7
10 José Vicent Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears       6
11 Xabier Zandio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                   5
12 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                   4
13 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears              3
14 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                2
15 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                    1
1 Team CSC                                                          22.48
2 Caisse D'Epargne - Illes Balears                                   0.21
3 Team Milram                                                        0.24
4 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                                 0.27
5 T- Mobile Team                                                     0.33
6 Astana                                                             0.36
7 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                             0.39
8 Credit Agricole                                                        
9 Liquigas                                                               
10 Quick Step - Innergetic                                           0.45
11 Euskaltel - Euskadi                                               0.54
12 Rabobank                                                              
13 Gerolsteiner                                                      0.57
14 Lampre - Fondital                                                 1.03
15 Bouygues Telecom                                                  1.12
16 Davitamon - Lotto                                                 1.15
17 Phonak Hearing Systems                                            1.21
18 Ag2r Prevoyance                                                       
19 Française des Jeux                                                1.24
20 Cofidis, le Credit Par Telephone                                  1.30
21 Relax - GAM                                                       1.51

km 3.3
1 Caisse D'Epargne-IB                                                3.33
2 Team Milram                                                        0.01
3 Discovery                                                              
4 Astana                                                             0.02
5 Liquigas                                                               
6 Saunier Duval-Prodir                                               0.03
7 Gerolsteiner                                                           
8 Team CSC                                                               
9 Quick Step-Innergetic                                              0.04
10 Euskaltel-Euskadi                                                     
11 Credit Agricole                                                       
12 T-Mobile Team                                                         
13 Rabobank                                                          0.05
14 Lampre-Fondital                                                   0.09
15 Phonak Hearing System                                             0.10
16 Davitamon-Lotto                                                       
17 Bouygues Telecom                                                  0.11
18 Francaise de Jeux                                                     
19 Cofidis                                                           0.12
20 Ag2R Prevoyance                                                   0.13
21 Relax-GAM                                                             


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