Former three-time Vuelta a España stage winner Michael Matthews got his 2021 campaign off to a flying start with a respectable ninth place in today’s opening 7.1km time trial stage.
In sweltering hot conditions, the riders set off down the start ramp in front of Burgos Cathedral and the road immediately headed north.
With it all to gain in the first-half uphill section, Matthews rode out of his skin gaining as much time as possible, before the twisty descent then flat final metres to the finish line. The 30-year-old eventually crossed the line with a time of eight minutes and 42 seconds, 13seconds down on the stage winner Primoz Roglic.
“I haven’t been back to Spain for a while now so coming back here and experiencing the fans on the side of the road was incredible. It is really what makes this sport what it is. For the result, I think it was ok, it is my first race after the Tour de France, so you never really know how you’re going to feel.
The numbers and everything were good on the computer, so in the end I don’t think I could have done anything differently in the race, so I have to be happy with the result.
The goal was to be close enough today, so we can try and get the jersey tomorrow, obviously to try and win the stage first. I still have a lot of days to try and get that stage win so I am looking forward to it.”
2021 Vuelta a España stage 1 TT results:
1. Primoz Roglic 8:32
2. Alex Aranburu +0:06
3. Jan Tratnik +0:08
9. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:14
Photo courtesy of Getty Images