• Team Jumbo Team Jumbo-Visma Slovenia's cylcist Primoz Roglic and teammates compete during the first stage of the 2019 La Vuelta (Getty)
It was a hectic day for the teams at the opening stage of La Vuelta a Espana 2019, with team cars crashing, entire teams hitting the deck and arguably the stage winner being changed by misfortune.
By
SBS Cycling Central

25 Aug - 9:42 AM 

Things did not get off to a good start even in the reconnaissance of the Stage 1 route as the team car for Spanish squad Euskadi-Murias crash while trying to take a corner at high speed. A number of reports from Spanish media have confirmed that no one was seriously hurt in the incident and the footage shows the people inside the car exiting safely.

The Euskadi-Murias team car crashes during the recon of the Stage 1 La Vuelta a Espana TTT.

Out on course, it was expected to be slightly easier going for the riders, but it ended in catastrophe for a number of teams as an unexpected wet patch during an otherwise dry day out on course caused near-total wipeouts for teams Lotto-Jumbo and UAE Team Emirates.

German time trial champion Tony Martin tells the story of the Jumbo-Visma crash.

“We were riding at full speed towards that bend when things went sideways," said Martin. "There was no way to avoid it. We couldn't react in time, and the guys in the front slipped away on the wet road surface.

Jumbo-Visma crash during the Stage 1 Vuelta a Espana team time trial

"Luckily everyone was able to continue their ride. Now we will have to see how things go, day by day. For now this is a blow to our morale."

Jumbo-Visma sports director Addy Engels explained what the organisers had told him of the surprising origin of the incident that caused the water to flood such an inconvenient part of the course.

"I have asked the organisation how this could have happened," said Engels. "They went to the house where the water came from. That is five hundred metres from the course, on a steep slope that goes straight onto the roundabout.

"There was a child playing in an inflatable plastic swimming pool that broke. As a result, according to the organisation, all of that water flooded down onto the road all of a sudden."

Jumbo-Visma lost 40 seconds on the stage on a day where they would have been hoping to make up time on their rivals. 

UAE Team Emirates also went down as a team, with main man Fabio Aru telling a similar story to the tale of the Dutch team.

"There was a water leak on one of the bends that caused us to go down," said Aru. "Once we were on the ground, we got up quick and did what we could until the end. It's not an ideal start, but we will fight on."

As a result of the Jumbo-Visma crash, mechanics scrambled out of their team car to get riders back on their bikes, but the car remained stationary by the side of the road, and proved a significant hazard for next team on course, Deceuninck-QuickStep.

Deceuninck-QuickStep dodging disaster in Stage 1 of La Vuelta a Espana
 

The Belgian powerhouse squad were one of the favourites for the race, but after dodging the team car of the Dutch with 1.7 kilometres to go and splitting the team up they fell to the already posted time of Astana, finishing just two seconds behind the Kazakh outfit.

“We didn’t start too fast and we were a couple of seconds behind at the first intermediate," said sports director Wilfried Peeters, "but we still had the entire team and pushed hard in the last five kilometres.

"There were many incidents on the course that were out of our control, and these impacted on the outcome. We would have liked to win, but at the end of the day, we are happy that nobody crashed.”