Britain’s Anna Henderson claimed the red jersey at the inaugural La Vuelta Femenina after crossing the line first for the stage winners, Jumbo-Visma, in the opening team time trial.
Lizzie Deignan continued her return to cycling by helping her Trek-Segafredo team finish third in the coastal resort of Torrevieja, with the Canyon–Sram team coming home second and Movistar fourth.
“We are over the moon, it’s our first win of the women’s team all year, and to win together is just awesome. We’re super happy and proud of the performance that we did,” Henderson said afterwards.
The 24-year-old tops the general classification alongside Dutch teammates Marianne Vos, Riejanne Markus and Amber Kraak, who all posted the same time over the 14.5km route.
Deignan, making her return to the sport after giving birth to her second child nearly eight months ago, helped her teammates finish nine seconds behind the winners. “I think we performed better than we expected,” she said after the stage. “Our objective was to limit time losses and I think we did more than that.”
Tuesday’s second stage sees the race stay in the Alicante province, with a flat 105.1km route between Orihuela and Pilar de la Horadada. The race will have seven stages in all, with the final three days in the mountains, culminating in a final climb to Lagos de Covadonga.
La Vuelta Femenina replaces the previous Challenge by La Vuelta event, which gradually expanded from a one-day race to five stages last year, but was held alongside the men’s Vuelta in September.
Stage one, team time trial (Torrevieja – Torrevieja, 14.5km): 1 Team Jumbo-Visma 18mins 3sec, 2 Canyon–Sram Racing +1, 3 Trek-Segafredo +9, 4 Movistar Team +12, 5 Team SD Worx +14, 6 FDJ-SUEZ +25, 7 Team DSM at same time, 8 Team Jayco-AlUla +31, 9 UAE Team ADQ + 41, 10 Liv Racing TeqFind +42.