The 2022 Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta opened with a team time trial around 19.9 kilometres of Marina de Cudeyo, across the bay from Santander in northern Spain. Trek Segafredo were a pre-stage favourite and duly delivered by setting the quickest time. They were 6 seconds quicker than an impressive Team BikeExchange-Jayco, with FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope 5 seconds further back at 11 seconds. Elisa Longo Borghini was first across the line for the Trek team and will take the leader’s jersey going into Stage 2.
The early pace was set by Uno-X with a time of 25:14 but this was beaten by Ceratizit-WNT, the first time to go under 25 minutes when they set 24:52. The coverage didn’t appear to clock their time and it was only when the ‘on the line’ gantry updated that we were able to confirm their time. The next big jump came from BikeExchange-Jayco who were significantly faster with a 23:37, working out as an average of 50.5kph. The team has been working on their time trials all season under the guidance of Marco Pinotti and it is paying dividends.
Jumbo-Visma surprisingly lost 55 seconds to Trek today, with Canyon SRAM also big losers at 59 seconds. The GC hopes of Mavi Garcia and Silvia Persico look over already with time gaps of 1:28 and 1:32 to close respectively. All these teams will have an uphill battle now.
Annemiek van Vleuten will be happy with her team’s performance today. Expected to lose time, Movistar only lost 23 seconds which certainly gives the Dutch GC favourite a fighting chance going into the hills tomorrow. The Dutch rider is aiming for a trio of big stage race wins this season.
Demi Vollering sits 2 seconds ahead of Van Vleuten and like her compatriot will need to attack in the coming days to redress the balance and get ahead of the likes of Longo Borghini and Faulkner in the GC battle. She will be keen to make up for missing out on the Tour of Scandinavia after her crash there.