La Vuelta Marbella Stage 1 2015

On Saturday 22 August, Marbella hosted Stage 1 of La Vuelta a España – a team time trial covering 7.4 kms from Puerto Banús to Venus Beach in the centre of Marbella. was of course there to bring you great images and our grateful thanks goes to photographer Derek Evans who covered the start of the event in Puerto Banús. RTV Marbella was also there, so you will be able to see some of their footage in Thursday’s Marbella Now programme.

As you probably know, there has been some controversy about holding the event in Marbella.

Firstly, we were all worried about the potential traffic chaos right in the middle of Marbella’s summer season and the route along the Paseo Maritimo had to be improved causing a degree of disruption for local businesses . But, on the eve of the event, complaints about the nature of the course from some of the competitors were upheld by the organisers who decided that points gained would not count towards the overall scores for the event.

So, on Saturday evening at exactly 18.40, the first team left the Levante Pier in Puerto Banús heading for Marbella. Twenty two teams of nine cyclists left the start at 5 minute intervals.

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The first team was MTN-Qhubeka from South Africa, followed by Team Colombia, FDJ from France, Team LottoNL-Jumbo from the Netherlands, AG2R La Mondiale from France, Team Cannondale-Garmin from the USA and then IAM Cycling from Switzerland.

Then came Cofidis from France, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA from Spain, Team Europcar from France and Orica-GreenEdge from Australia who held the lead for some time with a time of 8.119 minutes. They were followed by Trek Factory Racing from the USA.

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The temperature was reducing as the sun went down and at 19.48 Tinkoff-Saxo from Russia left the start gate followed by Team Giant-Alpecin from Germany, Etixx-Quick Step from Belgium and Lotto-Soudal also from Belgium.

At 20.08, Lampre-Merida from Italy, BMC Racing Team from the USA, Astana Pro Team from Kazakhstan, the Movistar Team from Spain, Team Sky from Great Britain and finally Team Katusha from Russia. Team Sky finished 20th of 22 competitors and were extremely disappointing.

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Tinkoff Saxo took over the lead from Orica Green Edge from Australia and held it for some time with a time of 8.114 minutes until BMC Racing Team from the USA just pipped them at the post with a time of 8.106 minutes – an average speed of 54.3 kms per hour.

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Thankfully, there were no injuries despite reservations about the course’s safety. Worries about the surfaces proved unfounded and most of the teams made great speed over the route which made it very exciting. The final team finishing the course at 20.41 – just 2 hours after it started. The competitors arrived on the beach in Marbella hot and fatigued – even though they are all very fit athletes. The temperature throughout the race was well over 30 degrees

Every team left the start gate on schedule – a tribute to the event’s organisation. We would also like to thank all the volunteers for their great work, along with the Protección Civil who monitored the roads and the route and made everything go smoothly whilst still allowing the crowds to enjoy the moment.

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The podium was set up on Venus Beach with the Mediterranean Sea and the setting sun as its splendid backdrop. The BMC Racing Team from the USA took their places as winners of the first stage of La Vuelta to rousing cheers and the Mayor of Marbella José Bernal shook hands with all the cyclists and presented the trophy and medals. He was accompanied by Inigo Méndez Vigo, Minister of Culture & Sport and Elias Bendodo, Presidente de la Diputación Provincial de Malaga.

The winning team were given red and white bouquets and individual watches. The crowd then gave a resounding cheer as Gran Ducay Cava was shaken, sprayed and drunk with gusto. The bouquets were then thrown to a delighted crowd.

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So, despite the fact that this Marbella stage won’t count towards La Vuelta’s final result, today´s fastest rider Slovakian Peter Velits from Team BMC was delighted to receive his trophy and the coveted red jersey of the La Vuelta leader. The second and third places went to Tinkoff-Saxo from Russia and Orica GreenEdge from Australia.

It was a great honour for Marbella to be chosen to hold this first stage of La Vuelta 2015 and we are very pleased to report that it all went well. Well done Marbella!

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