Rohan Dennis did was he does best on the opening stage of this year’s Vuelta a España, time trialling to victory and into the first red leader’s jersey of the race after an impressive performance on the streets of Malaga.
The BMC specialist covered the eight-kilometre circuit in 9min 39sec to deny Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski by six seconds with Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) a further second behind in third.
For Dennis this completed a personal hat-trick as he was adding this first Vuelta win to stage success on the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
The 28-year-old said: “When I saw Kwiatkowski’s time it made me a bit nervous. I was hoping he wouldn’t get below 9:50 and I was confident that I could get in the 9:40s.”
Making the most of the time trial purist’s route, Dennis had most of the Vuelta big guns over 20sec behind.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) came in 16th, 24sec adrift, with Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) at 29s, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at half a minute, and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 40sec off the pace.
Dennis’ teammate Richie Porte was hampered by stomach problems and trailed in 51sec behind in 97th place.
Sunday’s second stage is a 163.5-kilometre ride from Marbella to Caminito del Rey, the first summit finish in this Vuelta.
“I don’t want to appear presumptious concerning the Vuelta but it’s not serious if I lose the jersey,” said Dennis. “My objectives were the first and 16th stages (another time trial), so from now I’ll be helping my teammates.”
Vuelta a Espana 2018 – stage 1 results (Malaga – Malaga ITT):
|1||Rohan Dennis (BMC)|
|2||Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky)|
|3||Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal)|
|4||Nelson Oliveira (Movistar)|
|5||Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky)|
|6||Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)|
|7||Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky)|
|8||Simon Geschke (Team Sunweb)|
|9||Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)|
|10||Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)|
|11||Dylan Teuns (BMC)|
|12||Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)|
|13||Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ)|
|14||Andrey Amador (Movistar)|
|15||Brent Bookwalter (BMC)|
|16||Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)|
|17||Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)|
|18||Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky)|
|19||Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First-Drapac)|
|20||Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)|