The 2013 Vuelta a Espana kicks off today with a 27 kilometre team team trial from Vilanova de Arousa to Sanxenxo. Join us for live updates from 2.45am AEST.
Stage 1 won’t be the most accurate way of determining which contenders really mean business, but it will show us which teams have shown up to this Vuelta with victory on their minds, and which teams are already ready for the off-season.
27 kilometres is far enough for some reasonable time gaps to open up, and men like Samuel Sanchez will be particularly concerned how much time he may lose to the men in stronger teams, such as Sergio Henao and Vincenzo Nibali.
The stage kicks off at 18:48 Spanish time, and the first team off the ramp will be the Professional Continental outfit Team NetApp-Endura.
Following them with be the major Australian hopes for the Vuelta in Orica-GreenEDGE, who will surely be favourites for the stage after their performance in the Tour.
The last team off the ramp is Astana Pro Team, who are scheduled to leave at 2012 Spanish time, meaning differing light and heat conditions may affect the riders, as the heat of the Spanish sun calms down as the evening wears on.
Make sure you get the caffeine ready so you can stay up with me while I cover the live blog, if the Vuelta’s anything like last year, it’s worth staying up for! Join us from 2.45am AEST.