From the world championships to La Vuelta, Lorenzo Milesi is enjoying a formidable August. The Italian youngster, winner of the rainbow jersey in the Under 23 individual time trial, is the first leader of the 78th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour after he led Team DSM-Firmenich to victory in the opening team time-trial. The German squad went early, as thunder roared over Barcelona, and nobody ever managed to overthrow them. Movistar came the closest, only trailing by half a second, while Remco Evenepoel’s Soudal Quick-Step lost 6’’ and Jumbo-Visma 32’’. La Vuelta 23 begins with a spectacular surprise!
The 78th edition of La Vuelta starts from Barcelona with a 14.8km team time trial visiting some of the most iconic areas of the city. The riders will start from the coast, on the Somorrostro beach, and ride through the city, passing by iconic monuments such as the Sagrada Familia, until the finish on the avenue Reina Maria Cristina, next to Plaza de España.
DSM-Firmenich set the reference in the rain
The first team to start is Caja Rural Seguros RGA, at 18:55, followed by DSM-Firmenich 4 minutes later, and then Lidl-Trek at 19:03. They do so under a grey sky, after a few sunny and hot days in Barcelona. The thunder roars and the rain wets the roads.
In these conditions, DSM-Firmenich set the first strong reference: 17’30’’ to cover the 14.8km with a powerhouse such as Lorenzo Milesi, the U23 ITT world champion crowned a couple of weeks ago in Scotland.
A very wet final kilometre
Arkea-Samsic have a much different experience when Hugo Hofstetter’s wheels slip in the final kilometres, taking down his leader Kevin Vauquelin, who drops over a minute. Bahrain Victorious (+10’’), EF Education-EasyPost (+6’’) and then Groupama-FDJ (+6’’) are more successful but DSM-Firmenich hold on to the best time.
The final kilometre is particularly wet, which also leads to crashes for Maurice Ballerstedt (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla). Laurens De Plus goes down earlier in the race and Ineos Grenadiers finish with a time of 17’50’’ (+20’’).
Movistar come agonisingly close
Jumbo-Visma also struggle, trailing by 28’’ after 9.6km and eventually dropping 32’’ on the line. Enric Mas’ Movistar come much closer, only dropping half a second on the line! But when Remco Evenepoel’s Soudal Quick-Step finish with a gap of 6’’, DSM-Firmenich seal the win and Lorenzo Milesi takes La Roja.