Heavy rain makes for tricky La Vuelta opener in Barcelona

Team DSM-Firmenich take Stage One victory, finishing milliseconds ahead of Team Movistar

The Vuelta a España 2023 kicking off on Barcelona beach
The Vuelta a España 2023 kicking off on Barcelona beach / Sílvia Jardí
Cillian Shields

Cillian Shields | @pile_of_eggs | Barcelona

August 26, 2023 09:24 PM

Despite a heatwave bringing temperatures of up to 38.8ºC during the week, the weather completely changed for the opening of La Vuelta a España in Barcelona on Saturday. 

The race kicked off at 6.55 pm and it was almost that exact point that the rain started to fall, making visibility difficult and the road slippery. 

The conditions caused numerous teams to suffer falls, with Jayco AlUla and Arkéa-Samsic in particular struggling with the wet roads. 

Dutch side Team DSM-Firmenich won the first stage with a time of 17'30"15, meaning 21-year-old Lorenzo Milesi will be the first to wear the red leader's jersey tomorrow. They finished just 55 milliseconds ahead of Team Movistar, led by the Mallorcan rider Enric Mas. 

Defending champion Remco Evenepoel was furious after crossing the finish line in the foothills of Montjuïc, complaining "you don't see shit, if you don't say it then they don't change anything." 

Indeed, television broadcasts showed that lighting was low around many stretches of the race, as the sun had gone down, reducing visibility significantly. 

Despite the complaints, the Belgian rider ended the day in a relatively good position, finishing 4th, only 6 seconds behind the leaders, gaining time on most of his main competitors. 

The action resumes tomorrow with Stage Two seeing riders contest a hilly stage from Mataró, just north of Barcelona, down through Manresa and Sabadell before finishing again in Montjuïc in the Catalan capital. 

The expected start time for Sunday's stage is around 1 pm in Mataró, while it's expected that the riders will finish in Barcelona sometime between 5.15-5.45 pm.