Vuelta a España: HTC-Columbia puts Mark Cavendish into the red in race opener
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vuelta a España: HTC-Columbia puts Mark Cavendish into the red in race opener

by Ben Atkins at 5:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Race Reports and Results
US team wins late-night team time trial to put super-sprinter into the race lead

Mark CavendishHTC-Columbia won the nocturnal stage one team time trial to start the 2010 Vuelta a España. The US-registered team completed the spectacular, floodlit 13km course around the streets and bridges of Sevilla in a time of 14’06”, 10 seconds ahead of second place Liquigas-Doimo, and 12 seconds ahead of Team Saxo Bank.

"As soon as we did the first training ride on the course on Thursday even after ten minutes on the bike we were riding so well together I had the feeling we were going to win," said HTC-Columbia’s Mark Cavendish after the team’s victory. "The team time trial is my favourite discipline because the whole team gets rewarded, it's special that way, and at the same time you need to get it one hundred percent right for it to work."

"I get to stand on the podium quite a lot, but that's because of eight other guys hard work. Today we all got to stand on the podium and I'm incredibly proud of what my team-mates did."

The young, largely inexperienced Footon-Servetto team was the first to roll down the start ramp and set off into the dimly lit streets of the southern Spanish city. The gold and black clad outfit posted a highly beatable time of 15’06” around the 13km course; in fact the very next team to start, AG2R-La Mondiale, went 24 seconds faster.

Team Milram was the third team off and lowered the mark further still, taking 15 seconds off the French team’s time to finish on 14’24”; the German team’s lead was not to last long though, as HTC-Columbia was off at number six.

Despite a puncture for Austrian powerhouse Bernhard Eisel in the final kilometre, HTC-Columbia managed to take 18 seconds off the time of Milram; with sixteen more teams to come though, many of whom specialise in team time trials, the race was far from over.

The Lampre-Farnese Vini team, which includes Cavendish’s sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi, looked as though it was going to get close the American team; the blue and fuchsia squad could only manage to finish 14 seconds slower at the finish though. Not long afterwards, the Liquigas-Doimo team went 4 seconds quicker than its Italian compatriot, but was still 10 seconds behind HTC-Columbia. The strong ride from the acid-green team positioned Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger as the best placed of all the overall contenders.

After a warm-up ride crash from Julian Dean, pre-race favourite Garmin-Transitions rode a little conservatively to finish 17 seconds down.

The Saxo Bank team, including both Andy and Fränk Schleck as well World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara, finished a little ragged with Stuart O’Grady dropping the rest of the team in the closing kilometre; the Danish team finished 12 seconds down to take third place.

Cavendish was the first HTC-Columbia rider to cross the line and so he takes the leaders jersey, which is red this year to commemorate the race’s 75th anniversary.

"It belongs to the whole squad,” said the Manx sprinter. “I'm wearing it on behalf of the team."

Their performance also puts 22 year old Tejay van Garderen in good position for the overall classification in what is his first Grand Tour.  He will be testing his legs in this Vuelta, and will look to stay in contact with the overall contenders as long as he can.

Result stage 1
1. HTC-Columbia (USA) 14’06”
2. Liquigas-Doimo (Ita) @ 10s
3. Team Saxo Bank (Den) @ 12s
4. Cervélo TestTeam (Swi) @ 13s
5. Lampre-Farnese Vini (Ita) @ 14s
6. Garmin-Transitions (USA) @ 17s
7. OmegaPharma-Lotto (Bel)
8. Team Milram (Ger) @ 18s
9. Team Katusha (Rus) @ 20s
10. Quick Step (Bel) @ 23s
11. Caisse d’Epargne (Spa) @ 25s
12. Xacobeo-Galicia (Spa) 26s
13. Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa) @ 27s
14. Team Sky (GBr) @ 28s
15. Cofidis (Fra)
16. FDJ (Fra) @ 33s
17. AG2R-La Mondiale (Fra)
18. Rabobank (Ned) @ 36s
19. Bbox Bouyges Telecom (Fra) @ 39s
20. Team Astana (Kaz) @ 41s
21. Andalucia-Cajasur (Spa) @ 49s
22. Footon-Servetto (Spa) @ 57s

Standings after stage 1
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Columbia
2. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia
3. Martin Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia
4. Lars Bak (Den) HTC-Columbia
5. Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-Columbia
6. Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Columbia
7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Columbia
8. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Columbia
9. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 10s
10. Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas-Doimo


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