Defending champion Remco Evenepoel sits only a handful of seconds off the red jersey.
The last Grand Tour of the season got underway with a wet, windy and dark team time trial, elements more fitting to be the setting of one of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s gothic novels than for a cycling race, but the Soudal Quick-Step boys impressed even in these horrendous conditions, finishing only mere hundreds of a second outside the podium.
Andrea Bagioli, Mattia Cattaneo, Remco Evenepoel, Jan Hirt, James Knox, Casper Pedersen, Pieter Serry and Louis Vervaeke remained focus on the slippery roads of the 14.6km stage that featured a total of 19 corners, and delivered a great result at the end of the day, six seconds separating them from DSM-Firmenich, who won the opening stage in Barcelona – which hosted the Gran Salida for the first time in more than six decades.
The World Champion led home our squad, who managed to stay upright and stopped the clock in 17:36 after averaging 50.45km/h and is Soudal Quick-Step’s best-placed rider on the general classification, where he gained time on almost all his rivals.
“This was a dangerous stage. We planned to go as fast as possible in these conditions, but while making sure we kept it as safe as possible, without any risks in the corners. The boys did a perfect job considering everything and we are proud of them. At the end of the day, we can be content with what we did today it counts as a good start”, said sports director Klaas Lodeweyck.
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