DSM-Firmenich win opening team TT as Vuelta starts in the rain

cycling26 August 2023 19:42| ยฉ Reuters
Lorenzo Milesi ยฉ Getty Images

Dutch outfit Team DSM-Firmenich took an unexpected victory as the 78th Vuelta a Espana began with a rain-soaked team time trial around the streets of Barcelona on Saturday.

Torrential rain and thunder greeted the start of the three-week race, the season's last Grand Tour, and the DSM-Firmenich riders put down an early time that could not be bettered.

They completed the 14.8km circuit that took in some of the city's iconic locations in 17 minutes 30 seconds with Spanish team Movistar coming closest to dislodging them but fading late on to finish second in a virtually identical time.

EF Education-Easypost were third, six seconds back.

DSM-Firmenich's Lorenzo Milesi, winner of the under-23 individual time trial at this month's world championships, will be the first rider this year to wear the leader's red jersey.

Dutch powerhouse team Jumbo Visma โ€“ containing race favourites Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic โ€“ were only 11th quickest at 32 seconds.

Defending champion Remco Evenepoel's Soudal Quick-Step team were fourth quickest, at six seconds behind, meaning the Belgian will take a useful cushion into Sunday's second stage.

The drenched roads meant the course was trickier than expected with a slurry of crashes including for the Arkea-Samsic team and Ineos Grenadiers who finished 20 seconds back.

Sunday's stage will see battle really commence as the peloton is taken on a hilly 182km trek from Mataro before finishing at Barcelona's Montjuic.

Jumbo Visma are attempting to become the first team to win all three Grand Tours in the same season after Slovenia's Roglic claimed the Giro d'Italia and Vingegaard won the Tour de France for the second year in succession.