Chris Froome out of contention after opening stage of Vuelta a Espana

Froome “Carapaz is our leader I take it day by day”

Ironically, it was an injection of pace from Froome's own team - working for Richard Carapaz - that did for the two-time Vuelta victor as he dropped out of the back of the peloton on the climb of the Alto de Elgeta, still 18km from home.

Defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic won the opening stage of this year's delayed edition, a 173-km trek from Irun as the race got off to an explosive start on Tuesday.

Three years ago, when Froome won the Vuelta - his earlier title, from 2011, would be awarded retrospectively last year when Juan Jose Cobo was stripped of the title for doping - it was his great rival Alberto Contador, out of overall contention, who would storm to victory on the Angliru in what proved to be the swansong of his career.

Beginning his final race for the UCI WorldTour outfit he had joined when it began racing as Team Sky back in 2010, and with which he has won seven Grand Tours, Froome is continuing his recovery from the horrific crash at the Criterium du Dauphiné a little over 15 months ago that nearly ended his career.

Meanwhile, Froome, in his final race for Ineos, was abandoned by the team as they set the pace up most of the final climb for their race leader Richard Carapaz, who was second. That left little hope Froome could get back on come the more challenging final climb of the Arrate, and he ended the day having conceded 11 minutes.

"I personally ran into problems on the penultimate climb".

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"I've got to keep in mind I haven't raced a Grand Tour for two years now, it's very much about getting back into it again".

This mountainous stage was an unusually brutal way to open a Grand Tour, but it had been intended as stage four following a planned start in Utrecht which fell victim to the pandemic.

The Slovenian, who saw his grip on the Tour de France slip away in the penultimate stage of that race in September, was able to launch a decisive attack from a small group of eight riders around a kilometer from the end of the climb to the Alto de Arrate. I'm going take the first few days to see exactly where I'm at and I'll be able to have a clear plan for the rest of the race and know exactly what job I can fulfil at that point'. "They did a flawless job throughout the stage", said Roglic.

Former Giro champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands started as Jumbo-Visma's co-leader but he was unable to follow when Kuss made his move and crossed the line 51 seconds behind Roglic.

With bonus seconds applied, Roglic takes a five-second lead over Carapaz and Martin third, a further two seconds back, while Carthy sits seventh with a 14-second deficit.

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