Cycling

Dennis wins opening Vuelta time trial

Rohan Dennis (Gallo Images)
Rohan Dennis (Gallo Images)

Malaga - Australian Rohan Dennis shut out the main pretenders to the Vuelta a Espana title when dominating the first-stage time trial in Malaga on Saturday.

The BMC specialist in the discipline covered the 8km circuit in 9:39 to deny Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski by six seconds with Belgian Victor Campenaerts a further second behind in third.

For Dennis this completed a personal hat-trick as he was adding this first Vuelta win to stage success on cycling's other two Grand Tours, the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

The 28-year-old said: "When I saw Kwiatkowski's time it made me a bit nervous. I was hoping he wouldn't get below 9:50 and I was confident that I could get in the 9:40s."

Making the most of the time trial purist's route, Dennis had most of the Vuelta big guns over 20 seconds behind.

Spain's Alejandro Valverde came in 16th, 24 seconds adrift, with Briton Simon Yates at 29 seconds, Colombian Nairo Quintana at half a minute, and France's Thibaut Pinot and Italian Vincenzo Nibali 40 seconds off the pace.

Dennis' fellow Australian Richie Porte was hampered by stomach problems and trailed in 51 seconds behind in 97th place.

Sunday's second stage is a 163.5km ride from Marbella to Caminito del Rey.

"I don't want to appear presumptuous concerning the Vuelta but it's not serious if I lose the jersey," said Dennis.

"My objectives were the first and 16th stages (another time trial), so from now I'll be helping my team-mates."

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