OBE take third in opening team time trial at the Vuelta a Espana

Sat 20 Aug 2016

ORICA-BikeExchange proved that research does pay off after taking third place on the opening stage team time trial at the Vuelta a Espana today with a strong collective performance that saw Australian Damien Howson lead the team over the line.

The finishing times were agonisingly close with Team Sky taking the stage win ahead of Movistar and only six seconds ahead of ORICA-BikeExchange.

24-year-old Howson crossed the line first for ORICA-BikeExchange and praised the efforts of his teammates.

“It was very close, we crossed the finish line and obviously there were a few teams behind us so we weren’t sure of our result,” said Howson. “We put in a very strong ride and when you give it everything in a flawless ride as we did, you can walk away happy with the performance.”

“It’s a huge honour for me to lead the team over the line on the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana and start with a positive result. The team decided on the bus that if it was possible for me to cross the finish line first then that’s way everyone wanted it to pan out.

“It’s a wonderful gesture from the guys and I don’t think that they realise how much this means to me, I can't thank them enough.”

Sport director Neil Stephens was very happy with the result and the performance of the team.

“The result today is a culmination of a lot of work by the team over the last few days," Stephens said. "The boys have re-coned the route numerous times and all the staff have put in a lot of hours, it was a great team effort."

“The boys rode very well indeed and with a high level of intelligence and discipline throughout the time trial and it’s a good feeling for us all when the hard work pays off.

“It was also important not to lose any time today and fortunately we start on the front foot and from a good position going into day two.”

How it happened:

For the seventh year in a row the Vuelta a Espana began with a challenging team time trial, nearly 30kilometres of rolling roads in and around Ourense.

The early time to beat was set by Bora-Argon18 who completed the course in 31minutes 34seconds.

Etixx-Quickstep was the next team to take the provisional lead, 35seconds faster than Bora with a new best time of 30minutes 59seconds and an average speed of 53.8kph.

There were only six teams waiting to start by the time ORICA-BikeExchange rolled down the ramp with Etixx-Quickstep still in the hot seat.

At the first time check ORICA-BikeExchange were clocked at nine seconds quicker than Etixx after a flying start by the Australian team.

The momentum was maintained all the way to the line, taking the provisional top spot with 30minutes 43seconds and an average speed in excess of 54kph.

BMC Racing were next over the line just one second slower than ORICA-BikeExchange and moving into second place.

Movistar were next to take the hot seat, only six seconds faster with a time of 30minutes 37seconds until Team Sky crossed the line fractions of a second quicker than the Spanish team to take first place.

Team Sky held on for the stage win with ORICA-BikeExchange taking third place.

Stage two takes place tomorrow and covers 159kilometres from Ourense to Baiona, a short stage that will more than likely end in a bunch sprint.

Vuelta a Espana stage one TTT results:

1. Team-Sky 00:30:37
2. Movistar 00:00:00
3. ORICA-BikeExchange 00:00:06  

General classification after stage one:

1. Peter Kennaugh (Team-Sky) 00:30:37
2. Salvatore Puccio (Team-Sky) ST
3. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) ST
12. Damien Howson (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:06