World time trial champions BMC Racing claimed victory on stage one of the Vuelta a Espana, beating Tinkoff-Saxo by just one-hundredth of a second.
The opening stage of the race had been neutralised after concerns about the course from Puerto Banus to Marbella, but the red jersey was still up for grabs for the stage winners.
And Peter Velits was the man to claim it, as he led the minimum required five riders across the line on the narrow, sand-ridden course.
It meant Peter Sagan again narrowly missed out on the leader’s jersey and stage win – the Tinkoff-Saxo man having led his team across just that fraction of a second slower.
Orica-GreenEDGE were also within one second of the world champions, but other teams – Team Sky included – opted just to make it home in one piece, a tactic also deployed by Movistar, Astana and Katusha.
With no times given to the individual general classification, BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen admitted the team still felt like they had a point to prove as world champions.
And the American team got their tactics spot on, opting to use just their five strongest riders for much of the course given the narrow route it took.
In scorching heat, MTN-Qhubeka had kicked the race off with Britain’s Steve Cummings among the strongest time triallists in their ranks but it was LottoNL-Jumbo who set the first serious benchmark of 8.18.
Giro d’Italia stage winners Orica-GreenEDGE shaved ten seconds off that mark, but their time in the hot seat lasted just ten minutes as Sagan led Tinkoff-Saxo into the lead by half a second.
Another team with designs on the stage victory, Etixx-QuickStep, failed to topple the Australian team however – the reaction post-stage showing some dischord between the Belgian team’s riders.
BMC Racing were fifth from last to start the stage, meanwhile, and after burning their first four riders in the opening kilometre, forged clear with five men remaining.
The winning margin was as narrow as could be, and means Peter Velits will roll out in the red jersey for stage two – though with no times recorded overall for stage one, the leader’s jersey will be up for grabs again.
Vuelta a Espana 2015: stage one – result
1) BMC Racing (USA) – 8.10
2) Tinkoff-Saxo (RUS) +1”
3) Orica-GreenEDGE (AUS) – ST
4) LottoNL-Jumbo (NED) +8”
5) Etixx-QuickStep (BEL) +10”
6) Trek Factory Racing (USA) +11”
7) Lotto-Soudal (BEL) +18”
8) Caja Rural-Seguros (ESP) – ST
9) Movistar (ESP) +24”
10) Cofidis (FRA) +27”