Cavendish leads Vuelta after HTC-Columbia win team time trial
Mark Cavendish takes lead, Vuelta a Espana 2010 stage 1 TTT
Britain's Mark Cavendish took the overall lead of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana after his HTC-Columbia squad won the opening team time trial in Seville.
Cavendish was the first rider across the line for HTC-Columbia, and pulled on the red leader's jersey after the first stage in his first ever Vuelta. With an opening week favouring the sprinters, the Manxman could well keep the race lead for several days.
The result was a carbon copy of the 2009 Giro d'Italia's opening stage, which HTC-Columbia also won putting Cavendish in the maglia rosa - the first British rider to wear it.
Liquigas-Doimo posted the second fastest time of the evening, 10 seconds adrift of the US-based team. Saxo Bank looked less well-drilled than usual, finishing in ragged formation some 14 seconds behind HTC-Columbia for third place.
British outift Team Sky started its first ever Vuelta with a modest time, some 28 seconds down on HTC-Columbia and only good enough for 14th spot.
Denis Menchov's Vuelta campaign also started poorly, with his Rabobank team finishing a lowly 18th place. The Russian 2005/2007 Vuelta winner has already given away 24 seconds to overall rival Frank Schleck at Saxo Bank.
David Millar's Garmin-Transitions team placed sixth, but suffered yet another crash-related grand tour set back when Julian Dean hit the deck soon after the start. Dean is one of Garmin sprinter Tyler Farrar's key lead-out men - Farrar himself crashed out of the Tour de France in July.
The stage was run around a picturesque circuit of Seville under floodlights in balmy conditions with the final team, Andalucia-Cajasur, setting off at 11.28pm local time. It provided a stark contrast to last year's Vuelta opener in the Netherlands - a short individual prologue on the Assen motor racing circuit.
On Sunday (August 29), the riders face the opening road stage of the 2010 Vuelta, a 173.7km trip from Alcala de Guadaira to the coast at Marbella. The profile is decidedly lumpy and features a category three climb, Alto de Pruna - but the toughest test the riders will face is the searing heat.
Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage one: Seville to Seville, 13km TTT
1. HTC-Columbia in 14-06
2. Liquigas-Doimo at 10 secs
3. Saxo Bank at 12 secs
4. Cervelo Test Team at 13 secs
5. Lampre-Farnese Vini at 14 secs
6. Garmin-Transitions at 17 secs
7. Omega Pharma-Lotto at 17 secs
8. Milram at 18 secs
9. Katusha at 20 secs
10. Quick Step at 23 secs
11. Caisse d'Epargne at 25 secs
12. Xacobeo-Galicia at 26 secs
13. Euskaltel-Euskadi at 27 secs
14. Team Sky at 28 secs
15. Cofidis at 28 secs
16. Francaise des Jeux at 33 secs
17. Ag2r La Mondiale at 33 secs
18. Rabobank at 36 secs
19. Bbox Boutgues Telecom at 39 secs
20. Astana at 41 secs
21. Footon-Servetto at 57 secs
Overall classification after stage one
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
2. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia
3. Martin Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia
4. Lars Bak (Den) HTC-Columbia
5. Hayden Roulston (NZ) HTC-Columbia
6. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) HTC-Columbia
7. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Columbia
8. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Columbia
9. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
10. Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas-Doimo
Opening stage winners HTC-Columbia
Taking the lead: Mark Cavendish
Vuelta a Espana 2010: Related links
Cavendish poised to equal Millar's Brit record at Vuelta
Menchov and Schlecks start Vuelta as top favourites
Schlecks vying for victory in Vuelta
Vuelta 2010 start list
HTC-Columbia confirms Vuelta line-up
Gilbert's rainbow dreams continue in Vuelta a Espana
Hammond on Cervelo's reserve list for Vuelta
Riis confident in Frank Schleck ahead of Vuelta
Vuelta a Espana 2010: TV schedule
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Vuelta a Espana 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index