DSM-Firmenich earned a surprise victory in the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday, as the third Grand Tour of the season started with a team time trial in heavy Barcelona rain.
Reigning Vuelta champion Remco Evenepoel and his Soudal Quick-Step team-mates finished fourth, with the Belgian appearing frustrated at the end of the race because of the darkness and late start time.
Jumbo-Visma, boasting three-time Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic and back-to-back Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard surprisingly struggled, coming in 32 seconds behind winners DSM to finish 11th.
Italian rider Lorenzo Milesi won the first red jersey of the Vuelta as he was the first of the DSM riders to cross the line in the 14.8 kilometre team time trial.
“Of course (we didn’t expect this) but it’s an amazing feeling,” Milesi said. “This win with all the team was so fun and so nice. It was really emotional to watch all the (rest of the) race.
“We took some risks but had a good plan and stuck to the plan and it worked really well, so I’m very happy.”
Barcelona temperatures soared this week but ahead of the race a thunderstorm hit the Catalan capital, creating slippery conditions which led to several crashes on the technical course.
Second to start, DSM set what looked an early strong benchmark of 17 minutes 30 seconds, which penultimate starters Movistar Team finished a fraction of a second behind. The Spanish side finished six seconds ahead of EF Education-Easypost in third.
Ineos Grenadiers, led by former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, placed eighth, 20 seconds behind the leaders.
Stage two on Sunday sees riders duel over 182 kilometres between Mataro and Barcelona’s Montjuic Castle.
❤️ Un sueño cumplido para Lorenzo Milesi. Primer día en La Vuelta, primer liderato. ¡Disfruta del minuto de La Roja!
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) August 26, 2023