Howson fastest for Mitchelton-SCOTT and Simon Yates in the GC mix after opening Vuelta time trial

Sat 25 Aug 2018

Australian Damien Howson clocked the fastest time for Mitchelton-SCOTT on the opening time trial stage at the Vuelta a Espana this evening, finishing 28seconds behind stage winner Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team). 

Teammate and leader Simon Yates finished just one second slower for 30th place and to position himself ahead of many of his general classification rivals after the first day of racing.

The course:
For a city-center course, the eight kilometre Malaga circuit was somewhat untechnical with just a few corners requiring caution and one small rise mid-route. The fastest time of Dennis averaged just under 50kmph.                      

Early times tumble as fastest time saved for later:
Australian road race champion Alex Edmondson was the first down the ramp for Mitchelton-SCOTT and he was off to a flying start, posting the fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint before finishing five-seconds down on the early benchmark across the line.

Dylan Van Baarle (Team Sky) held the fastest time for some time, before settling for fifth place on the stage, as the predicted favourites battled it out for the top three. 

Dennis was too good, winning by six seconds from Michal Kwiatowski (Team Sky) with European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) another second slower for third. 

Mitchelton-SCOTT highlights:
As he crossed the line, Howson was the tenth provisional fastest at eight seconds adrift from Dylan Van Baarle before settling for 22nd place at 28seconds.

With his sights set of a consistent opening nine days and a good overall result, leader Yates put in a solid ride to finish 29seconds behind Dennis. 

In the overall game, Kwiatowski, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) posted faster times, but Yates was able to gain early seconds on the likes on Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team), Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team). 

Damien Howson:
“That was uncomfortable. All time trials are, but I find the sprint time trials like this one extra difficult but I think I put it together pretty well.

“I didn’t take any risks out there, I know the road down here can be pretty slippery sometimes and we have big ambitions for the three weeks, so I am content.”

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.