BMC impress with time trial win as Froome gains early Vuelta advantage
Rohan Dennis was the first recipient of the Vuelta a Espana's red leader's jersey as BMC Racing showed off their team time trialling quality once again.
The American team stopped the clock at 15 minutes and 58 seconds - six seconds faster than any of their rivals - in Nimes as the final Grand Tour of 2017 got underway on Saturday.
Dennis was first across the line for BMC after they safely negotiated the 13.7 kilometre route in southern France, meaning it is he who takes the general classification lead.
It is the second time in three years that BMC have started the Vuelta with a team time trial victory, but their advantage is only slender with some of the big names not far behind.
Quick-Step Floors and Team Sunweb set the early pace but had to settle for a second place as their time of 16 minutes and four seconds was beaten by BMC.
Chris Froome and his Team Sky colleagues looked on course to take top spot as they entered the final kilometre ahead, but they could not maintain the pace and had to settle for fourth - nine seconds back.
There was disappointment for Alberto Contador at the start of his final major race, the three-time winner finishing down in 11th as Trek-Segafredo came home in 16 minutes and 33 seconds.
GOOD DAY/BAD DAY
Everything came up smelling of roses for Froome as he put some early time between himself and his GC rivals, the reigning Tour de France champion already 22 seconds clear of Vincenzo Nibali.
Contador is a further four behind Froome, while Fabio Aru trails him by over half a minute already.
1. BMC Racing 15:58
2. Quick-Step Floors 16:04
3. Team Sunweb 16:04
4. Team Sky 16:07
5. Orica-Scott 16:15
1. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) 15:58
2. Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) 15:58
3. Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) 15:58
Stage two is another nice flat stage from Nimes to Gruissan to help get some miles into the peloton's legs before the Pyrenees loom into view on Monday.