Vuelta Travelogue - Quintessential Spain
Stage 1, August 27th, Granada to Granada ITT, 7 km
Homage to Spain
This year's route touches on the very core of this fascinating country. On day one, a 7 km time trial takes the riders from the old town of Granada to the incomparable Alhambra and Generalife on the crest of the La Sabica hill that dominates the town. The Alhambra was the very last stronghold of the Moorish rulers in Spain and today its ornate architecture draws visitors from around the world. A combination of alcazaba (fortress), alcazar (palace) and medina (city), the Alhambra incorporates some incredibly beautiful courtyards and rooms unique in Europe. The nearby Generalife was built as a playground for the Nasrite emirs. Its combination of trees, formal gardens, miradors and galleries conspire to build an atmosphere of peace with intoxicating perfumes from the vegetation and the sounds of water to massage the senses.
Completing the magic of Granada is its proximity to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Whether it is dawn, dusk or during the glaring sunlit heat of the mid-day, the Sierra Nevada's snow-capped peaks provide a breathtaking backdrop to the ancient architecture of Granada and the Alhambra.
The sixtieth edition of the Vuelta a España will start with this 7 km time trial through Granada´s streets. This course is very technical, starting with a slight 2.3 km. Once it reachs the Alto de la Alhambra, a technical descent begins back to the finish line.
The best time of the early rider was set by Rabobank's Rik Verbrugghe at 9'46". One by one the race favorites fell into place behind the Dutchman. The only contender to challenge Verbrugghe was his Rabobank teammate Denis Menchov. At the intermediate time check Menchov was 3 seconds behind Verbrugghe. Flying through the seond half of the course Menchov crossed the finish line in 9'45", 1 second faster than Verbrugghe and became the first overall leader of the 2005 Vuelta a Espana. Defending champion Roberto Heras finished 7th, 15" behind Menchov.
Race Leader Denis Menchov ( Image © Unipublic )
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