Cyclist McCarthy impresses in Spanish race

Australian Jay McCarthy has claimed an impressive top-10 finish in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, as the cycling season resumed after a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McCarthy powered home to finish eighth, 10 seconds behind stage winner and Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Felix Grossschartner on Tuesday.

"Jay showed his good form with the eighth position," said Bora-Hansgrohe's Sports Director Steffen Radochla.

"Tomorrow is a day for the sprinters before we're going to the mountains. We will try to keep the leader's jersey as long as possible."

In the first major race since Paris-Nice in March, Grossschartner attacked with 700m remaining to finish eight seconds clear of Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) in second and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished third.

"I'm super happy," said Grossschartner.

"I went full gas and said, what can happen? If they catch me, they catch me. It's always better to be in front than to have to chase."

Colombian climber Esteban Chaves took 11th place for Australian race team Mitchelton-Scott.

Jumbo-Visma rider Gijs Leemreize was forced to drop out of the stage after suffering a finger injury in a horror crash with around 50km remaining.

"Gijs is in the hospital, where the plastic surgeon will restore his damaged fingertip in the best possible way tonight," the team posted on Twitter.

Team Israel Start-Up Nation suffered a setback before the start of the race as they withdrew two riders due to coronavirus concerns.

Alex Dowsett and Itamar Einhorn were pulled out after the latter came in contact with teammate Omer Goldstein, who is not competing in Burgos after returning a positive test this week.

A few hours into the race, Israel Start-Up Nation confirmed both riders are "perfectly healthy" and that Einhorn's test had come back negative.