Vuelta a España: Astana powers to opening team time trial
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vuelta a España: Astana powers to opening team time trial

by Ben Atkins at 3:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
Janez Brajkovič first across the line and takes Vuelta lead for a career second time

janez brajkovic

The Astana Pro Team powered team captain Vincenzo Nibali into pole position in the 2013 Vuelta a España with victory in the opening team time trial, between Vilanova de Arousa and Sanxenxo. The Kazakh outfit, setting off last of the 22 teams, completed the 27.4km course in a time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds, to push RadioShack-Leopard into second place by ten seconds.

Janez Brajkovič crossed the line first for Astana to take the first red jersey of the race, which he previously led as a 24-year-old back in 2006.

“We had reconnoitred the course earlier in the day in pretty special conditions because the course was not closed to the traffic,” Brajkovič explained. “But we understood that it was a good course for us. We had to remain united to hope for a great result. I was convinced we’d do well but I didn’t think we’d win. Some teams looked superior to ours. It’s a big surprise to have won and to wear the red jersey.

“This is a coincidence but I’m very happy to hear that,” he said, when reminded that his previous time in the Vuelta lead - when the jersey was gold - was also in the proince of Galicia. “All I can say is that I’ve suffered a lot to get this result. It’s been painful during the whole stage because we were riding very fast. But the pain was necessary for winning.

“I’m here for the team and we have an undisputed leader, Vincenzo Nibali, who is also the number one favourite for the overall victory,” Brajkovič added. “I’ll work for him. We’ll see on Sunday if I’m still the race leader but that’s not the most important. It’s all for Vincenzo.”

Early leader, World team time trial champion Omega Pharma-Quick Step, held on to take third place, another six seconds back, as most teams finished the technical course with the minimum required five riders.

Team NetApp-Endura was the first team to start, and set a time of 30’34”, which was to see off the challenge from Orica-GreenEdge, Argos-Shimano and BMC Racing. Omega Pharma-Quick Step - including world individual time trial champion Tony Martin - was the eighth team off, however, and pushed the German ProContinental team off the top spot by 19 seconds, with a time of 30’15”.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s time was to see off all challengers for some time, with Sky Procycling coming closest at six seconds behind. RadioShack-Leopard, with four-time Word champion Fabian Cancellara at its head for much of the course, finally pushed the Belgian team down, however, and took the lead with 30’09”; six seconds faster.

Astana was already powering around the course though, and was fastest at both the 9.2km and 20km checkpoints. The Kazakh team was able to sustain its pace, and crossed the line in 29’59”, with Brajkovič sprinting over ahead of his teammates to become the race’s first leader.

Result stage 1
1. Astana Pro Team (Kaz), 27.4km in 29’59”
2. Radioshack-Leopard (Lux) @ 10s
3. Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Bel) @ 16s
4. Sky Procycling (GBr) @ 22s
5. Movistar Team (Spa) @ 29s
6. Team Saxo-Tinkoff (Den) @ 32s
7. Team NetApp-Endura (Ger) @ @ 35s
8. BMC Racing Team (Swi) @ 36s
9. Orica-GreenEdge (Aus) @ 45s
10. Belkin Pro Cycling (Ned) @ 49s
11. Lampre-Merida (Ita) @ 56s
12. Katusha Team (Rus) @ 59s
13. Lotto-Belisol (Bel) @ 1’14”
14. Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
15. Vacansoleil-DCM (Ned) @ 1’18”
16. (Fra) @ 1’25”
17. Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita) @ 1’26”
18. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spa) @ 1’38”
19. Garmin-Sharp (USA) @ 1’41”
20. AG2R La Mondiale (Fra) @ 1’41”
21. Team Argos-Shimano (Ned) @ 1’53”
22. Cofidis, solutions credits (Fra) @ 1’55”

Standings after stage 1
1. Janez Brajkovič (Slo) Astana Pro Team
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
5. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
6. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Leopard @ 10s
8. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard
9. Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Leopard
10. Robert Kiserlovzki (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard


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