Euskaltel's last ever Grand Tour got off to everything but an ideal start as Samuel Sánchez ceded a big chunk of time in Saturday's Vuelta a España team time trial opener.
Entirely as anticipated, Vincenzo Nibali's Astana blitzed the 27,8km course to take the first stage. Euskaltel, featuring a host of big-name riders, were expected to at least break the top ten, but found the going hard and had to settle for 14th - a full 1:14 down on the Kazakh outfit. Heading into the first stage proper, Nibali thus already hold quite the handy lead on Euskaltel's main man.
Climbing duo Igor Antón and Mikel Landa, along with Pablo Urtasun and Juan José Oroz, both struggled and had to ease off towards the end, eventually finishing 2:43 and 4:31 in arrears.
Of the other GC candidates, Sánchez lost 52 seconds to Sky duo Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán, 45 to Alejandro Valverde and 15 to Joaquim Rodríguez.