To defend or not to defend.
That is the question for Astana, whose heavyweight line-up and emphatic victory in the opening stage team time trial has already propelled one of their number into the lead of the race.
Janez Brajkovic will roll out from Pontevedra in the red jersey of race leader, and with talents like Jakob Fuglsang, Maxime Iglinsky, and, of course, team leader and Giro d’Italia champion, Vincenzo Nibali, surrounding him, could expect to extend his tenure, should Astana’s management chose to protect their advantage this early in the race.
The Kazakh squad’s low-key build up, characterised by a suck-it-and-see approach centred on Nibali’s preparations for next month’s world championships, belied their A-team line up. If any of their rivals had underestimated the seriousness of Astana’s intent for this Vuelta, they will not do so now.
Photographer, Stefano Sirotti, spent an evening on Spain’s beautiful Galician coast capturing the action from the 27km team time trial from Vilanova de Arousa to Sanxenxo.