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"We know that we will all be classified with the same time at the end of this stage, so basically, there was more to lose than to gain.  But we were really riding, though in the difficult places we naturally eased off a little bit...

Photo: IAM Cycling






23.08.2015 @ 00:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The 70th edition of the Vuelta started with a short, unconventional seven kilometer long team time trial that definitely made a point of taking in the beach scenes. Over the controversial route that many teams deemed unsafe due to the sandy road surface, the twenty-two squads taking part in the Vuelta a Espana kicked off the event.  But the stage felt a touch more like a parade than a competition since it had the unusual status as mattering only with regards to the team classification, since safety was deemed paramount on the road between Puerto Banús and Marbella. 


In any case, the technical aspect of the course did not deter the BMC Racing team from setting a scorching time of 8’10” to take the stage and put Peter Velits into the leader’s red jersey.  Cautious but bold, the IAM Cycling team did register an 11th place on the stage.  That result confirms that the Swiss team is in good form and full of confidence.


Sylvain Chavanel, who will have a free hand in the race, said he was keen to start the third consecutive grand tour of the season, which is the first time he has attempted that in his own career.


“It is a little tricky to start with a course like this.  Everyone recognized how dangerous it was, so we did not want to take any unnecessary risks.  We know that we will all be classified with the same time at the end of this stage, so basically, there was more to lose than to gain.  But we were really riding, though in the difficult places we naturally eased off a little bit. 


"For me personally, this year my focus was on the classics in the spring, and then stringing together these three grand tours in a row.  But in between all of the tours, there are three weeks where I did not race at all, so that was a time for recovery. 


"Now I just want to find my racing legs and the pleasure of racing at this Vuelta, neither of which I had at the Tour.  I want to go on the attack, a little like I raced at the Giro this year.  And hopefully I can find an opening for a win, even if the Vuelta parcours is often very difficult with a lot of mountain finishes with serious climbing.”


Sylvain Chavanel and his eight IAM Cycling teammates will now have twenty stage where they will all have their chances.  After avoiding the pitfalls of the first stage, as per the instructions given in the team meeting Saturday morning, the group will now have the freedom to hunt. 


"“We thought the course was limited,” explained Michel Thétaz, founder of the IAM Cycling team and CEO of IAM Funds.  “Besides, we were not all that enthusiastic about racing this course today.  From the start, we told our riders to be cautious because after all, this in only the first day of the Vuelta.  The clear objective was that all our riders would finish the stage without incident and arrive safely. 


"From here on out, the Vuelta really starts.  The general classification is not really our concern since we know we do not have a rider here in a position to weigh in.  However, every day, depending on the riders and the profile of the stage, we will be able to play a different card, and we will very much enjoy that.”



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