La Vuelta a España Stage 1: OPQS Starts Off Strong on the TTT Podium
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team finished 3rd in the 27.4km La Vuelta a España TTT on Saturday, with a finishing time of 30'15".
OPQS finished 16" down on stage winner Astana Pro Team. Radioshack-Leopard was 2nd (+10"). OPQS had the fastest 9km intermediate time (10'45") and the 2nd fastest 20km intermediate time (+8").
OPQS looks next to a 177.7km Stage 2 on Sunday, which features an 11km finishing ascent on Alto do Monte da Groba (5.6% average gradient, 10% max ramp).
"I think we had a pretty fast start, I don't think it was wrong to start so fast," Tony Martin said. "We knew on the big road it's a tailwind, so you the opinion was to start fast. We had a good speed since the beginning, but unfortunately we lost a few guys after the technical downhill. We really needed to pay attention at the end with five riders left. But even though we always want to win at a team time trial, I still think 3rd is a good result. Because we came here with riders for the mountains, riders for the breaks, and also some sprinters. We did this to have a balanced team in a three week race. We can be present in all the race situations, therefore we do not have a team strictly for the time trial. So, that should be taken into consideration before anything else and I think we did a great job with the team we have here. This was also a difficult course and I already predicted many teams would explode on the road. I am happy in any case about my condition and with this race. I had really good legs today and I am looking forward to the next days. For me, it gave me some morale and I think everybody can be happy for their performance."
"The parcour was hard," Sport Director Jan Schaffrath said. "I think the team did a good job. In general, we saw a good team with good and motivated riders. A 3rd place finish at La Vuelta is not so bad with so many strong teams. We always want to go for the victory, but sometimes there is a team simply better than you that day. The preparation was good and everything went well, so we have nothing to complain about. Congratulations to Astana for a great race."