But the story of the day is this crash for the Jumbo-Visma team, whose leaders Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk both went down to concede 40 seconds to today's winners.
Salinas de Torrevieja - Torrevieja
Vuelta a España - 24 August 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:56 on 24 August 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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So, that's it, an opening day TTT victory for Astana. They win in a time of 14'51" with QuickStep second at two seconds and Sunweb third at five seconds.
Five Movistar riders - including Valverde and Quintana - come home 16 seconds down for seventh place.
Movistar were 13 seconds down at the split and so they shouldn't trouble Astana here... they're into the final kilometre now.
Heartbreak for Deceuninck-QuickStep who miss out by just two seconds! They probably would have won had they not been disrupted by that neutral car.
Chaos at the finish as Jakobsen overcooks a corner and goes into the barriers.
Near miss! QuickStep almost plough into the back of a neutral service car which had stupidly stopped beyond a blind corner to give one of the Jumbo riders a new bike.
Jumbo-Visma cross the line 40 seconds down so they limited their losses but are the big losers today.
We're hearing that UAE Team Emirates also crashed on that corner - although we haven't seen any images of that one.
Jumbo-Visma were seven seconds down at the first check just ahead of the crash. Martin, Bennett and Gesink were the only riders not to go down - with Roglic bashing his left hip quite badly.
There was a wet patch of road just before that crash which took out more than half the Jumbo-Visma team. They have regrouped but Roglic and Kruijswijk will lose a shed load of time today.
DISASTER FOR JUMBO-VISMA! Four or five of their riders go down on a tight corner - including Roglic and Kruijswijk!
Down the salt ramp goes Movistar, the final of the 22 teams. In the absence of last year's winner Simon Yates, it's the world champion Alejandro Valverde who wears the number one dossard - although today he's in his trade kit and not the rainbow stripes.
Bora have just shod two riders - Shane Archbold and Pawel Poljanski. The Pole manages to bridge back over, but Austraian Archbold, the track specialist, doesn't have the legs.
Deceuninck-QuickStep are the penultimate team to get going. They don't really have a GC man in their team and instead will be hunting stages through Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar, with Fabio Jakobsen for the sprints and young Briton James Knox a possible outsider for a top 20.
Lotto Soudal are 19 seconds down at the finish.
Favourites Jumbo-Visma get going. Their road captains are Tony Martin and Robert Gesink, with Primoz Roglic leader and the likes of George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk in support. And it's a terrible start with Sep Kuss off the back from the outset - the American youngster must have a mechanical problem. Either that or he's suffering with some kind of illness...
Astana are approaching the finish now. Lopez is back in there as they ride to the line with six men. They were still up at the most recent live check, but it's a very technical approach. And it is Lopez who leads them home - five seconds clear of Sunweb! New leaders in the house.
UAE Team Emirates (who have Fabio Aru and Tadej Pogacar as leaders and Fernando Gaviria for the sprints) are on course, with Bora-Hansgrohe (with Davide Formolo and Rafal Majka leading, and Sam Bennett for sprints) starting soon after. Just three more now.
But Astana are pushing it so much they've dropped their leader, Lopez, and so the team needs to ease up as they approach the finish...
Astana mean business! The Kazakh outfit - who don't have any Kazakh riders in their team - zip into the lead at the split, six seconds clear of Groupama-FDJ.
Into the lead go Sunweb by just two seconds! EF Education First out of the hot seat.
Lotto-Soudal on course now. Only five more teams after the Belgians.
Bahrain Merida are 19 seconds down at the finish after some finish straight panic.
Sunweb are just one second down at the first check. This looks promising for the German outfit.
Astana are next to start. And they have a monster of a team in support of Miguel Angel Lopez, with Fuglsang, both Izagirres, Sanchez, Boaro, Cataldo and Fraile there and giving the team multiple options and the Colombian 'Superman' solid mountain support.
Mitchelton-Scott, who were seven seconds down at the intermediate check, come home 11 seconds down for fourth at the finish.
Trek Segafredo now down the ramp. Amazingly, no one has crashed on this ramp, so it can't be as slippery as it looks. Usually, this would be something Bouygues/Europcar/Direct Energie would do, but the French minnows aren't here.
In between, we had Bahrain Merida getting going. They have no Nibali or Dennis or Pozzovivo, so leadership duties go to Dylan Teuns and the young Mark Padun.
Team Sunweb are on course now. We're hearing that they are officially the tallest team on this Vuelta with an average height of 1.85m. Their tallest rider is Max Walscheid, who is one centimetre short of two metres high.
Ineos concede 18 seconds at the finish. It's only the fourth best time for now from the British team, which underlines their relative inexperience - much like their line up at the Giro. Ahead of them are EF Education First, CCC and Groupama.
Third best time at the split for Ineos - six seconds down on Groupama and two behind EF Education First. Meanwhile, Cofidis and Mitchelton-Scott are on course. Esteban Chaves leads for the Australian team in the absence of defending champion Simon Yates.
We're hearing that that crash for the Euskadi-Murias car was actually earlier this afternoon during the recon - and not during the actual TTT.
It was Tejay van Garderen who led EF home so the American is in the virtual red jersey - although we expect a lot more from the likes of Jumbo-Visma, QuickStep, Bora and Mitchelton-Scott. Early days and all that...
And EF Education First are still in the lead after Groupama - with only four riders - come home nine seconds down for provisional third place. CCC are second at eight seconds.
EF Education First go first with a time of 14'58". But here comes Groupama...
Caja Rural and Katusha-Alpecin have got their races under way. And next up is Team Ineos, who have three leaders in Wout Poels, Tao Geoghegan Hart and David de la Cruz.
But they will be challenged by EF Education First, who came through the first check three seconds quicker. Although, Groupama went one better than came through four seconds quicker than the American team, so it's all happening.
CCC have set the new target time of 15'07" at the finish - that's 19 seconds quicker than Dimension Data.
Oof! The Euskadi-Murias team car crashed a while ago - that looks nasty, and I'm surprised they haven't stopped the TT to clear the road.
Groupama-FDJ are on course now. They have a young team with two Grand Tour debutants but no bona fide leader.
EF Education First have started. They have a really exciting team that includes Colombians Uran, Higuita and Martinez, Briton's Hugh Carthy and the American Tejay Van Garderen. At least one or two of those should finish in the overall top 10 in Madrid.
CCC have blasted through the first intermediate check with a lead of four seconds over Ag2R-La Mondiale so they're looking good to set the benchmark at the finish.
Today is really about celebrating the salt and deciding who wears the first red jersey: the gaps won't be big. Things really get going tomorrow although the first GC showdown for the race favourites comes on Wednesday's stage 5 with the first of eight summit finishes. More on the key stages which will decide the destiny of the red jersey here...
Ag2R-La Mondiale come home three seconds down on Dimension Data! They were two seconds up at the intermediate check at 7.3km but faded as they shed numbers.
Meanwhile, Ag2R-La Mondiale have shed half their team - they're down to the bare minimum of four riders as they approach the centre of town to finish their effort.
We have our target time: Dimension Data have come home in 15'25".
Spanish minnows Burgos BH are about to start. Their leader is former Movistar rider Angel Madrazo, aka. the Spanish McLovin.
This is what I mean about the ramp... salty.
The teams are going in four-minute intervals and we now have Ag2R-La Mondiale, Euskadi-Murias and CCC Team on the course.
Team Dimension Data are the first team to get down the ramp in this opening collective. The ramp itself appears to be made from buffed and shined salt. It's also surrounded by piles of the stuff.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana - a 13.4km pan-flat but quite technical team time trial from the saltflats of Torrevieja to the centre of Torrevieja.