ORICA-GreenEDGE opened their Vuelta a España account with a mid-field result on the team time trial. The Australian outfit time trialed to 13th place, covering the 16.5 kilometer course in Pamplona in 19:25. Movistar, with defending champion Juan Jose Cobo amongst their ranks, was the only team to break the 19 minute mark. The final team to start won the first stage in a time of 18:51.
“I’m satisfied with our time trial today,” said Sports Director Neil Stephens. “We did a good, solid day for who we have here. We said from the start that we were expecting a mid-pack result, and that’s exactly where we found ourselves.”
Stephens said the team paced their effort over the flat course perfectly. Over long drags and tight turns, ORICA-GreenEDGE powered towards the stage finish in Plaza de Toros, home to the famous running of the bulls.
“We started out well,” noted Stephens. “In situations like this, teams can get too eager in the first half. We paced ourselves exactly right, and we were able to carry that pace throughout our effort.”
“Obviously, when you’re not up for the stage win, you don’t take any risks,” added Stephens. “We didn’t blow through the corners. We did what we needed to do to stay safe.”
The Australian outfit is ready for the various scenarios that can emerge tomorrow. Stage two is the first road stage of the Spanish Tour.
“We’re looking at another hot and windy day,” said Stephens. “It’s a good day for a breakaway, and we’ll be up for that if that’s how the race unfolds. There may be some uncertainty over who should take control tomorrow, which is good for the break. If it comes down to a bunch sprint, the finish suits someone like Allan Davis or maybe Simon Clarke. We’re up for the stage win no matter what the scenario.”