Menchov wins Spanish Vuelta opening time trial
GRANADA, Spain -- Russia's Denis Menchov won Saturday's opening stage of the Spanish Vuelta, the last major tour of the European road cycling season.
Menchov, riding for Rabobank, covered the 4.35-mile time trial in and around the southern city of Granada in 9 minutes, 45 seconds -- one second ahead of Belgian rider Rik Verbrugghe from the Quick Step team.
Australia's Bradley McGee, from the Francaise des Jeux team, was third, three seconds behind the leader.
Last year's winner, Roberto Heras, finished 15 seconds behind Menchov in seventh place.
Sunday's second stage is a 117.6-mile leg from Granada to Cordoba.
The 21-stage, 2,093.19-mile Tour of Spain, known as "la Vuelta," ranks with the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia among the top three events in the European cycling season.
The Spanish race ends Sept. 18 in Madrid.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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