Evenepoel upset by gloomy conditions at rainy Vuelta


The DSM-Firmenich team of Romain Bardet have won a rainy team time trial through the streets of Barcelona to kick off cycling's Vuelta e Espana.

Defending champion Remco Evenepoel complained about Saturday's poor riding conditions caused by heavy rain and subsequent poor light.

His Soudal-Quickstep outfit was among several teams racing in near darkness.

DSM, who included Australian rider Chris Hamilton in their number, had the leading time of 17 minutes, 30 seconds as Lorenzo Milesi became the first rider to wear the red jersey at the three-week race.

Hamilton is ranked sixth in the general classification.

Movistar finished runners-up, a fraction of a second behind DSM, with EF Education-EasyPost third.

Evenepoel was visibly upset when he crossed the finish line, saying, "We are not monkeys in a circus".

The Belgian time trial world champion was apparently upset his team, which as 2022's winners went out last in Saturday's time trial, had to ride largely in darkness due to heavy clouds that made nightfall come earlier than expected - and provided much-needed rain for the drought-stricken area.

Evenepoel said his team's riders had "water in the face" and could not see "one metre in front" of themselves on their way to fourth place.

Evenepoel's Soudal-Quickstep were only six seconds slower than DSM and opened an early 22-second gap over the powerful Jumbo-Visma outfit.

Jumbo-Visma, who finished 11th, are led by two-time Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard and triple Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic.

Australia's Team Jayco-AlUla finished 19th of the 23 teams, 51 seconds off the pace.

The 14.8km route started on the beach in Barcelona and took the riders past the iconic Sagrada Familia basilica in the city centre.

Sunday's second stage is a 182km hilly course from Mataro to Barcelona.