Rohan Dennis in red as BMC Racing win Vuelta a Espana team time trial

Chris Froome gains time on several riders on stage one in Nimes

Rohan Dennis pulled on the first red jersey of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana as BMC Racing won the stage one team time trial in Nimes.

Dennis led home his team on the relatively flat first stage, which included a passage through a Roman Colosseum, in a time of 15.58 – six seconds faster than world champions QuickStep Floors and surprise package Team Sunweb.

Chris Froome’s Team Sky finished fourth, in 16.07, with an average speed just a fraction over 51km/h, to ensure a solid start to his GC challenge, meanwhile.

The day belonged to BMC Racing, however, with Dennis in the red jersey just days after the team were rocked by Samuel Sanchez’s failed doping test and subsequent withdrawal from the race.

Rohan Dennis celebrates taking the first red jersey of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana with his team-mates (pic – Sirotti)

Bora-hansgrohe had set the first meaningful benchmark, with Rafal Majka’s team stopping the clock in 16.19.

That was three seconds faster than Lotto-Soudal, who had been second down the ramp, while Aqua Blue Sport – in their debut Grand Tour – had been another early starters, setting a time of 16.36 with Mark Christian in their front group, and Adam Blythe just a second behind.

Aqua Blue Sport, with Mark Christian and Adam Blythe in their ranks, rode their first ever Grand Tour stage (pic – Sirotti)

Team Sunweb, with Wilco Kelderman and Tour de France King of the Mountains Warren Barguil their GC options, smashed 15 seconds off the Bora mark, meanwhile.

Sunweb were ousted by QuickStep Floors, by just half a second, before BMC Racing – led home by Dennis – set what proved to be the race-winning mark.

Movistar’s momentum was slowed by a spill, with Jorge Arcas crashing, while LottoNL-Jumbo – riding for Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett – also suffered a crash and lost time.

Team Sky – wary after their mechanical disaster in the team time trial at this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico – had no such issues, however.

Chris Froome lost just nine seconds to the stage winners, even though Sky could not replicate last year’s stage-winning success.

Trek-Segafrdo were the last team down the ramp, with the retiring Alberto Contador wearing dossard number one, but the American team finished 35 seconds slower than BMC Racing.

Team Sky ride through the Colisseum on their way to fourth place (pic – Sirotti)

It leaves Dennis in the red jersey, and Tejay van Garderen the best-placed of the major GC contenders, but Froome otherwise gained time on most of his rivals.

Orica-Scott, with Adam and Simon Yates and Johan Esteban Chaves all in their ranks, were eight seconds slower than Sky, while Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Contador all finished more than 30 seconds behind BMC Racing.

Fabio Aru and his Astana team-mates lost 41 seconds to the stage winners (32 to Sky) and Romain Bardet’s Ag2r-La Mondiale were a further five seconds back.

Vuelta a Espana 2017: stage one (TTT) – result

1) BMC Racing – 15.58
2) QuickStep Floors – 16.04
3) Team Sunweb – ST
4) Team Sky – 16.07
5) Orica-Scott – 16.15
6) Bora-hansgrohe – 16.19
7) Lotto-Soudal – 16.22
8) Movistar – ST
9) Bahrain-Merida – 16.29
10) Katusha-Alpecin – 16.31

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