Solid showing for Mitchelton-SCOTT in dramatic opening TTT at La Vuelta

Sat 24 Aug 2019

Mitchelton-SCOTT has put together a solid performance in the opening team time trial at La Vuelta a Espana, finishing in ninth position and just 18seconds down on stage winner Astana Pro Team. 

The eight-man line-up, that is without the team's usual team time trial specialists, remained steady across the technical 13km course, crossing the line with seven riders in a time of 15:09:29.

But it wasn’t smooth sailing for everyone as a number of teams, including pre-stage favourites Team Jumbo-Visma, suffered unfortunate crashes in the second half of the course.

Damien Howson:
“It all came together pretty well. It’s not a team of eight team time trial specialists so, keeping that in mind, the guys put everything they had into the effort as one unit and a top-10 result is very respectable I think and only losing 18seconds gets us off to a decent start at this year’s Vuelta.

“We did as much as we could preparation wise leading into the race. We rode the course three times, we knew the corners well, we’d been over our tactics leading into the race multiple times, so we were all clear of what we needed to do, individually and as a team.”

Mikel Nieve:
“I think it’s not bad, it’s not a really big difference but the most important thing is that we finished good, without problems.

“Tomorrow we start the real race, so now we will try to recover as good as possible and be ready for tomorrow.”

Julian Dean – Sport Director:
“That was better than probably expected. We predicted we would be around 30seconds from the fastest team today, but to finish where we did was pleasing.

“We knew we had to start fast, but then try to have a controlled race. We had particular areas where we were really going to put it on the line and others where we weren’t. We came a little bit unstuck on a couple of occasions but when you’ve got some new guys who haven’t done a lot of this discipline with us, these things will happen.

“It’s never nice to see problems happen to other teams, Jumbo-Visma in particular were the favourites and I think had a good chance of winning, so it’s unfortunate." 

La Vuelta – Stage 1 TTT Results:
1. Astana Pro Team 14:51
2. Deceuninck – Quickstep +0:02
3. Team Sunweb +0:05
9 Mitchelton-SCOTT +0:18

La Vuelta - General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) 14:51
2. Dario Cataldo (Astana Pro Team) ST
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) ST
48. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:18

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.