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Pamplona, Spain -
Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo pulled on the leader's red jersey in the Tour of Spain on Saturday after his Movistar team won the opening 16.5km team time-trial.
The Spanish outfit of defending Vuelta champion Juan Jose Cobo and outsider Alejandro Valverde clocked a winning time of 18min 51sec, to finish ahead of Dutch team Rabobank and Belgium's Omega Pharma, who both timed 19min 01sec.
“For me it's obviously a personal satisfaction,” said 25-year-old Castroviejo, making his Grand Tour debut and who was the first Movistar rider to cross the line.
“Nothing was planned, everyone gave what he could in this complicated final and it turned out that I crossed the line in front.”
Defending champion Cobo said he was pleased with the outcome after a problem with a wisdom tooth had hampered his prepartions just over a week before the race.
“It went better than I expected. With this wisdom tooth problem I haven't started in the best possible shape. But I hope that little by little I'll find my form,” said the Spaniard.
The Sky team of British hope Chris Froome, runner-up behind Cabo last year, rode into the famous bullring in Pamplona to set the fifth best time at the finish, 12sec off the pace.
Spaniard Alberto Contador led his Saxo Bank team over the line 15sec behind the leaders in seventh place on his return from a two-year doping suspension.
Race favourite Contador is two seconds behind Tour de France runner-up Froome.
“The team gave everything and, whatever the result was, I am very happy with the team and its motivation,” said Contador.
“I hadn't seen them for a long time. Now we have to recover because tomorrow will be a very demanding day.
“I thank everyone who has been waiting over two hours just to see us. I appreciate it and although there wasn't a victory, this result goes to them.”
Sunday's stage will be a 181.4km run which favours the sprinters from Pamplona to Viana, in the community of Navarra, northern Spain. - Sapa-AFP