61st Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 26-September 17, 2006
Results & report
Stage 1 - August 26: Málaga - Málaga TTT, 7.2 km
Complete live report
The capital of the Costa del Sol
welcomes the riders for the Vuelta team time trial start. The street circuit
is completely flat and should provide super-fast average speeds. There's a right
angle turn 400 metres before the finish that will test the team's skill. Favourites
for the stage include Caisse d'Epargne - Illes Balears, T-Mobile and Astana.
Welcome to Malaga, South Europe,
for Cyclingnews' live coverage of the opening stage of the 61st Vuelta
a España. Today we're kicking off with a fast, flat 7.3 km team time
trial running from the Estadio de Atletismo Cuidad de Málaga [City of Málaga
Athletics Stadium] to the finish at the Paseo de los Curas/Paseo la Farola.
Relax-Gam will lead things off at 19.12 CEST, and will be followed at four minute
intervals by each of the remaining 20 teams in the race. The start order is
Relax-Gam, Lampre-Fondital, Davitamon-Lotto, Phonak Hearing Systems, Francaise
des Jeux, Credit Agricole, T-Mobile, Bouygues Telecom, Liquigas, AG2R Prévoyance,
Cofidis, Milram, Quick Step - Innergetic, Gerolsteiner, Saunier Duval - Prodir,
Euskaltel - Euskadi, Discovery Channel, Astana, Illes Balears - Caisse d'Epargne,
Team CSC and, finally, the Rabobank squad of defending champion Denis Menchov.
Relax - GAM is well under way now,
getting into its rhythm as the first team out of the starting blocks. It's the
only non-ProTour team in the race. Lampre - Fondital follows it at four minutes.
There is one intermediate time check today at km 2.3.
The weather today is superb for the
opening stage. It's 25 degrees and there's not much wind. It's really a pleasant
evening in downtown Malaga.
Belgian squad Davitamon - Lotto launches
next, with sprinter Robbie McEwen aiming for a solid start. Team time trialling
is not really his thing, but you can bet he'll be up there in tomorrow's second
stage (which starts at 10am and finishes at 2pm, by the way).
McEwen is accompanied by Olivier
Kaisen, Mario Aerts, Christophe Brandt, Wim De Vocht, Bart Dockx, Chris Horner,
Josep Jufre Pou and Bjorn Leukemans.
And now Phonak Hearing Systems is
off. The Swiss team is in its last ever Grand Tour, as it will stop at the end
of the year. Floyd Landis was just one doping case too many. In the Vuelta,
Phonak will start with fairly modest ambitions.
Phonak's best rider is probably Miguel
Angel Martin Perdiguero, who is always a threat of a stage win. The experienced
Nicolas Jalabert is also on board.
Française des Jeux starts off next,
four minutes behind Phonak. One of five French ProTour teams, FDJ has a relatively
young squad in the Vuelta, built around Austrian sprinter Bernhard Eisel.
Credit Agricole has just left, while
Quick.Step is still warming up, with Paolo Bettini putting his tongue out.
At the first time check (km 2.3), Lampre leads with 3'42.
The T-Mobile team is coming to the
intermediate time check, where CA arrived at 3.37 - the team led by Bernhard
Kohl scores exactly the same time there. Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom have started.
Other teams are still warming up:
Saunier Duval with David Millar, and Quickstep with Paolo Bettini, listening
Liquigas is lining up to start in the stadium, where the
Vuelta is seen off this year.
T-Mobile has just set a new best
time with 7.47 minutes - this prologue is rather spectacular being a team time
trial, but the time differences between riders will certainly be minimal.
Alexandre Vinokourov is also warming
up, sweating a lot already. He wears one of those sunglasses with integrated
News has just arrived that Andreas Klöden will be his
new teammate next year, together with Matze Kessler and Gregory Rast. Gerolsteiner's
Rene Haselbacher is also said to be joining Astana next year. More on those
changes in the next edition of News.
Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes is in the
car behind Liquigas - they're doing 64-67 km/h reportedly.
Liquigas raced through the time check
after 3.35 minutes - two seconds faster than T-Mobile. They're coming to the
finish now: 7.49... they lost those two seconds again on the second half of
Milram is on the start ramp, with
Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel. The riders are held upright on their bikes
by rather good-looking blond-haired girls...
The start of today's course is in
a southwest suburb of Malaga, with the finish in the city harbour. The roads
are very flat and straight, through industrial areas but there are also some
beautiful palm-tree boulevards.
Milram is coming into the finish
- the sprinter's team should do very well here. And it does: new best time with
German team Gerolsteiner comes out
of the stadium's oval now. Ouch! Davide Rebellin crashed in a roundabout! That
didn't look good... he slid away.
Gerolsteiner continues of course,
leaving Rebellin behind. Meanwhile, Saunier Duval has started.
Gerolsteiner passed the time check
after 3.36 minutes - that's only 2 secs slower than Milram.
Saunier Duval is doing 56 km/h on
a long, straight, boulevard.
Gerolsteiner gets into the finish: 7.55.
Euskaltel-Euskadi is also out on
the road now, coming through the roundabout where Rebellin crashed. They don't
look like they've found a rhythm yet - sort of disorganised.
Saunier Duval is three seconds slower
than Milram in the finish, as Discovery takes off.
Discovery passes the time check with
the same time as Milram... Astana has started, too, but there was a gap in the
group straight away. Vinokourov was leading, and Kashechkin tried to bridge
the gap. They're all together again now.
Ah - Discovery missed Milram's best
by not even one second. That's close.
ProTour leader Alejandro Valverde
has started with his Caisse d'Epargne teammates. He's dressed all in white.
There aren't a lot of spectators
except towards the finish line, where Astana is now: 7.48.
The Danish team are specialists collectively
against the clock, and look like they've got it together here. Sörensen is leading
them now, while Cancellara is still sitting on somebody's wheel.
And Caisse d'Epargne, led out by
Garcia Acosta, take the best time off Milram by one second! So it might be the
Spaniard in Gold later on, not Erik Zabel, who crossed the line first with Milram.
Rabobank, the last team with last
year's winner Menchov, is off.
CSC is still driving hard. Will they
be able to beat Caisse d'Epargne?
Yes! They're seven seconds faster!
Didn't see who was first on the line, though. It wasn't Cancellara.
We're told that it was Carlos Sastre
who crossed the finish line in first position at CSC, so he would be the one
to get the leader's jersey. Awaiting confirmation though.
gets into the finish now, but they will not pass CSC...
Rabobank finished 18 seconds off
CSC - they're out of Top 10.
It's confirmed - Sastre is the first
leader of this year's Vuelta.
So CSC smashes their rivals in this
first, fast TTT through Malaga. We're impressed! But Alessandro Petacchi is
also in a good position to take the lead tomorrow when the race moves to Cordoba
for a possible bunch sprint finish. Stay tuned!
1 Caisse-D'Epargne-Illes Balears 3.33
2 Team-Milram 0.01
4 Astana 0.02
6 Saunier-Duval-Prodir 0.03
9 Quick-Step-Innergetic 0.04
Finish - km 7.3
1 Team-CSC 7.36
2 Caisse-D'Epargne-Illes Balears 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
10 Quick-Step-Innergetic 0.15
General classification after stage 1
1 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 7.36
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