Up-and-coming Italian fastman Daniele Bennati finished the Tour de France with a stage win on the Champs Elysées in July – and on Saturday he started the Tour of Spain with another bunch sprint victory and the leader?s gold jersey to boot.

?It was my kind of sprint,? Bennati said. ?Wide open roads, a good finishing straight. My thanks to Milram for setting things up so nicely for me.?

Milram?s near-perfect lead out for team leader Alessandro Petacchi to the finish of the 153 kilometre stage in Vigo had looked as if it was on the point of giving Ale-jet the 18th Vuelta win of his career.

But with 200 metres to go, double Tour ?07 stage winner Bennati charged round Petacchi to take his first ever Vuelta stage victory and on top of that, his first ever lead in a major Tour. Second was Spaniard Oscar Freire (Rabobank), with Petacchi finally finishing third.

?I volunteered to come here almost immediately after winning the last stage of the Tour,? Bennati said. ?After a lousy 2006, 2007 has been going a lot better for me and I was sure that I could get some kind of result in Spain.?

?Winning the first stage of a major Tour is always tougher than the rest, though – everybody?s in good shape.?

Saturday was Bennati?s eighth win of the season and 27th of his career, and he said that he hoped he would continue to lead the Vuelta for another 48 hours – “until stage four to the [summit finish of the] Lakes of Covadonga.?

One favourite who will not be tackling the 13 kilometre climb to Covadonga this year is American Tom Danielson. The Discovery Channel rider crashed badly during stage one, suffering a suspected fractured collarbone.

Sixth in last year?s Vuelta when he was the winner of the epic mountain stage to Granada, Danielson had come to the Tour of Spain with high hopes. Just to complete a black day for Discovery, Spanish team-mate Egoi Martinez also crashed late on in the stage, and may also have a fractured collarbone.

If Bennati was all smiles, his Lampre team-mate Damiano Cunego was not so happy after stage one. Involved in the same pile-up as Danielson, Cunego suffered cuts, bruises and major road-rash all down his left side. The 2004 Giro winner completed the stage, but suffered badly in the fast final hour and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Tour of Spain stage one Vigo – Vigo 153.4 kilometres

1 Daniele Bennati (Italy) Lampre 3-43-09
2 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
6 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues
7 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
9 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues
10 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
104 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas all st

Tour of Spain overall
1 Daniele Bennati (Italy) Lampre 3-43-09
2 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
6 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues
7 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
9 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues
10 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
104 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Liquigas all st

RELATED LINKS
Tour of Spain preview, including stage and team list

Cycling Weekly April 17 2014 issue
This article is from

Cycling Weekly – In print and online, Cycling Weekly is the best source of breaking news, race reportage, reliable fitness advice, trustworthy product reviews and inspirational features. First published in 1891, the magazine has an amazing and unrivalled heritage, having been at the heart of British cycling for over 120 years.

Subscribe to Cycling Weekly in print » | Read the digital edition »