Chris Froome’s Team Sky finished fourth in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana, with BMC Racing winning the team time trial in Nimes.
Froome’s bid to become just the third man to win the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year got off to a solid start, while BMC’s Australian rider Rohan Dennis won the opening stage.
Froome currently sits down in 18th place, but only trails Dennis by nine seconds.
Three-time winner Alberto Contador is 16 seconds off the pace after the first stage, with the decorated Spaniard retiring after the race.
Dennis is the first Australian since Michael Matthews in 2014 to take the leader’s red jersey in the Spanish contest.
The 14km opening stage time trial saw the teams race around some of Nimes’ historical sites, and at the end of the battle Britain’s Froome had left himself with a solid opening.
Quick-Step Floors and Team Sunweb pushed close, but none of the 21 other teams on the day were able to dislodge BMC from the initial summit.
Froome and Team Sky’s fourth place proved enough for the British hope to secure a promising early foothold however.
Sunday’s second stage will remain in France, running from Nimes to Gruissan.