The O Gran Camiño’s opening time trial around La Coruña launched the racing in Galicia in a rather unique way, on Thursday. Due to adverse weather conditions, and especially significant wind gusts, this first stage didn’t count for the general classification, and everyone was therefore able to complete the course as they saw fit. Lenny Martinez made sure to do a solid ride and set the day’s thirteenth time, 1’27 behind the winner Joshua Tarling. The “real” race will therefore start tomorrow on a very hilly second stage towards Chantada.

On Thursday, a nice course was to kick off the third edition of O Gran Camiño, a race which the Groupama-FDJ cycling team took part in for the very first time. Nearly fifteen kilometers made up the slightly hilly route, mainly along the coast, and with a conclusion near the Tower of Hercules after a final unpaved climb. In usual times, this would have made for an interesting battle in an attractive setting. Today however, the first point of interest was highly qualified due to the stage neutralization regarding the general classification. Due to strong gusts of wind, it was decided not to count the gaps, not to authorize time trial bikes, and only to award the stage win. All this obviously created a special atmosphere. “It is a real shame for the organizers that the weather was not good, because it was a very nice course,” said Jussi Veikkanen. “Our goal and will, despite all the modifications we faced, was still for everyone to do the work properly in order to get their bearings on the time trial. They did that well.”

“We will have to be careful all day”, Jussi Veikkanen

The first starters for Groupama-FDJ, namely Reuben Thompson, Clément Davy, Enzo Paleni and Eddy Le Huitouze, actually set decent times, which provisionally placed them in the top-10 or even top-5. Lenny Martinez started at 4:20 p.m. and crossed the line 19 minutes and 49 seconds later, putting him in provisional seventh place. After all the competitors had finished, the young climber eventually slipped down to thirteenth. “Since the gaps did not count for the overall, we did this time trial without taking any big risks,” added Jussi. “Even more so for David, who slightly slipped in a roundabout during the recon. However, he was more scared than hurt”. The Frenchman thus covered the day’s time trial without pushing too much while Joshua Tarling lived up to his favorite status despite the circumstances to take the victory. The counters will be reset tomorrow for the second stage. “We will first see how the weather develops,” concluded Jussi. “It should be a bit better. It’s a very punchy stage, with some tricky areas too, so we’ll have to be careful all day.”

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