Before the stage Sep Vanmarcke called it a goal for the opening time trial in the Vuelta d’España: being first at the intermediate point, after 2.1 kilometers of racing. He could step on the podium for the climber’s jersey. Unfortunately, he missed out by one second.
The Belgian rider thought today could be a great chance to get to wear a jersey in a Grand Tour. “If I took it today, I would have kept it most likely till Monday”, he said before his time trial.
The section where he went all out, was a short climb to the castle of Burgos with an average percentage of 3.4%. “I came close, very close, but in the end, it was not enough”, Vanmarcke said after his ITT.
The slightly disappointed Vanmarcke: “I emptied the tank completely. From the gun, I gave everything I had.”
After the finish he suffered from pain in his chest for minutes, coughing every fifteen seconds. “I am not sure if it was completely healthy to go so deep”, he joked while he cooled down on the Elite Suito trainer.
The opening ITT also featured Seb Berwick’s and Itamar Einhorn’s Grand Tour debut. For the Israeli rider, tomorrow’s stage will be especially interesting, however, he did enjoy the opening time trial a lot as well.
“I heard so many people shouting my name on the course. That surprised me because I was not a favorite for today’s stage”, he laughed.