Report: Team Sky
Photography: Alvaro Barrientos/AP/Press Association Images
Published: 18 August 2012
Team Sky got their Vuelta a Espana campaign off to a superb start with fifth place in the opening team time trial.
The nine-man squad put in a time of 19 minutes and three seconds, 12 seconds back, to put them right in the mix as the third Grand Tour of the season got off to a spectacular start.
The team finished with six riders after going quickest through the first intermediate split, Richie Porte leading the group across the line. Alongside the Australian was team leader Chris Froome, alongside Colombian pairing Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao, Xabier Zandio and Juan Antonio Flecha.
It was Movistar who took top honours in Pamplona to give Jonathan Castroviejo the red jersey of race leader.
The team of defending champion Juan Jose Cobo set a time of 18:51 over the 16.5 kilometre course in northern Spain.
Movistar finished 10 seconds ahead of Rabobank, BMC Racing and Omega Pharma-Quickstep, who all ended with the same time, while Team Sky completed the top five.
Team Sky and Froome will begin the second stage with a 12-second deficit to Castroviejo but the Brit is two seconds ahead of the returning Alberto Contador, whose Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank squad came seventh behind Lotto-Belisol.
BMC Racing set the pace early on, with their time of 19:01 being comfortably the best of the first starters.
Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Quickstep both went quicker at the intermediate checkpoint, with the former edging ahead at the finish by fractions of a second.
Omega Pharma-Quickstep also set a time of 19:01 but were the slowest of the three teams who finished with that mark.
Katusha, Astana and Lotto-Belisol all went faster than Rabobank at the checkpoint, but at the finish it was the Dutch outfit that hung onto the fastest time heading into the closing stages.
Team Sky were the next team to set the fastest time at the intermediate check, although they were not able to break Rabobank's stranglehold either and were two seconds back at the finish.
However, Rabobank saw the victory snatched away from them at the last possible moment as Movistar - the final team to start - produced a storming finish to put Castroviejo in the leader's jersey after he came across the line first.
Back at the hotel in Pamplona we caught up with Sports Director Nicolas Portal who was really happy to see the team begin the race on the front foot.
"It was a very good start for the team today," he said. "The guys put in a really good time and we are very happy with how the stage went.
"It was important to come through with no crashes and no issues and we ran the stage without any stress. Everyone is confident and this puts us in a really good position going forward.
"Tomorrow is the first stage on the road and we will look to continue with this momentum. It looks like it will end in a sprint finish so it could be a nice opportunity for Swifty."
3 Omega Pharma Quickstep
7 Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank