Defending champion Primoz Roglic won stage one of the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday after outsprinting an elite group that had survived the steep final 5km climb to Alto de Arrate.
Team Ineos had set the pace up most of the climb and their leader Richard Carapaz was second, while Irishman Dan Martin of Israel Start-Up Nation finished third.
Roglic used his trademark late kick in the final 500m to open a gap of just a few seconds for a comfortable win that puts him in the race leader’s red jersey.
The Vuelta set off almost two months late from Irun instead of from the Netherlands as originally planned, with few fans in attendance for a 173km rolling run through the Basque Country.
The original route had been flat, but the 18 stage Vuelta has started with a bang on this rolling terrain with Frenchman Thibaut Pinot and Dutch former Giro champion Tom Dumoulin losing time already.
The race passed some of the region’s prettiest spots with Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma leading the peloton as it flew past the sweeping horse-shoe bay at San Sebastian.
Roglic arrived as defending champion but with a point to prove after his late meltdown on the Tour de France saw him relinquish the yellow jersey.
With a blustery wind there were a series of falls with Dani Martinez of Education First taking a while to dust himself off and carry on and Michael Woods also falling and losing time.