Sprinter Mark Cavendish led Team HTC-Columbia to first place in the team time trial Saturday in the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana, the third grand tour on professional cycling’s calendar this year.
The HTC riders covered the 8-mile course through Seville in 14 minutes, 6 seconds. HTC is based on San Luis Obispo.
Finishing second at 10 seconds back was the Italian squad of Liquigas-Doimo, while Saxo Bank of Germany took third, 12 seconds off the lead.
There is a heat wave sweeping Spain and it was about 86 degrees when the time trial began just after 10 p.m. local time.
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As the first rider across the line for HTC-Columbia, Cavendish will wear the leader's red jersey, which had been gold in previous years.
Today’s second stage is a 107.9-mile run between Alcala de Guadaira and Marbella.
Cavendish, of England, won five stages this year during the Tour de France, cycling’s premier event.
The Vuelta will consist of 21 stages over three weeks, concluding on Sept. 19 in Madrid.