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Aug 20, 2016 – Chris Froome’s Team Sky came out on top in the opening-stage team time-trial on the Vuelta on Saturday.
Froome is bidding to become the first rider in 38 years to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year and his team pipped a Movistar team including Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana by just four hundredths of a second in a time of 30mins 37secs.
Britain’s Peter Kennaugh takes the leader’s red jersey as the first Sky member to cross the finish line on the 27.8km route from Ourense’s Laias Health Resort to Castrelo de Miño Nautical Park in Galicia, north-western Spain.
Alberto Contador, who is looking to win the Vuelta for the fourth time, lost ground as his Tinkoff-Saxo team finished 52 seconds behind down in eighth.
“To start almost a minute from direct rivals is more than I imagined,” said Contador.
“There are plenty of opportunities and better days to come.”
The race got off to a better start than last year when times from the team time-trial were declared void due to concerns over the safety of the route.
Orica-BikeExchange finished third, six seconds back on Sky and Movistar, to hand a boost to Colombian rider Esteban Chaves’ hopes of a first Grand Tour win after finishing second at the Giro d’Italia in May.
Movistar were the third-last team to start and looked to have taken the win on home soil when they surged ahead of Orica with Valverde leading them over the line.
“We are happy with our time trial, even though we didn’t win,” said Valverde, who is looking to become the first man to finish in the top 10 of all three Grand Tours in the same year.
However, Sky just bettered Movistar’s time, allowing Kennaugh the right to start Sunday’s 160.8km stage from Ourense to Baiona in red.
1. Team Sky 0:30:37
3. Orica-BikeExchange 0:00:06
4. BMC Racing Team 0:00:07
5. Etixx-QuickStep 0:00:22
6. LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:27
7. Trek-Segafredo 0:00:50
8. Cannondale 0:00:52
10. Bora-Argon 18 0:00:57
11. Astana Pro Team 0:00:58
12. FDJ 0:01:05
13. IAM Cycling 0:01:13
14. Katusha 0:01:17
15. Dimension Data
16. Lotto Soudal 0:01:27
17. Cofidis 0:01:34
18. Caja Rural-RGA Seguros 0:01:36
19. Ag2r-La Mondiale 0:01:48
20. Giant-Alpecin 0:01:50
21. Direct Energie 0:01:55
22. Lampre-Merida 0:02:09