Stage two of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana showed that there will be no easy days in the last of this season’s Grand Tours.
Blistering heat, a category three climb, and a determined chase from the peloton to catch a three-strong breakaway and set up a bunch finsih gave little indication that over 3000km of racing lay ahead.
Perhaps the most significant event of the day came outside of the efforts of the breakaway riders or the sprinters. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) gained two seconds by contesting an intermediate sprint and moved level on time with joint pre-race favourite, Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Here are some of the highlights of the stage, courtesy of official UCI WorldTour photographer, Stefano Sirotti.
Looks who’s dropped in: five-time Tour de France winner, Miguel Indurain, donates a bike to the Alberto Contador foundation
Strength in depth: as well two living legends, Spain has a young rider in the Vuelta leader’s jersey, Jonathan Castroviejo
Liquigas mechanics make a final adjustment to one of their fleet Cannondale SuperSix Evo steeds
Spare bikes for Gesink, Boom, Mollema et al on the roof of this Rabobank team car
If Chris Froome is feeling the pressure of being joint pre-race favourite, he isn’t showing it