Cycling: Moreno wins Ruta time trial, Contador takes time off Froome

MADRID (AFP) - Spain's Javi Moreno won the individual time trial in the second part of a split opening stage to the Ruta del Sol on Wednesday as his compatriot Alberto Contador claimed an early eight-second advantage over Chris Froome.

Moreno's time of 9min 51sec over the 8.2km course through Coria del Rio edged out Wilco Kelderman and Jerome Coppel by two and four seconds respectively.

Contador was six seconds back in fourth but that was enough to take the race leader's red jersey with Froome finishing 10th in the time trial and down in fourth overall.

"It was a very explosive stage with constant changes of pace," said Contador, who announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2016 season earlier this week.

"I am happy with the result, but to be leading is merely representative, the race has just begun. The really tough bit is to come in a few days."

With no bonus seconds on offer for stage winners, Contador will almost certainly have the advantage as the two battle it out for overall victory across two mountain top finishes on Friday and Saturday before a more sprinter-friendly final stage on Sunday.

Neither Contador nor Froome were affected by a crash-ridden first stage of the day in which Dutchman Pim Ligthart sprinted to victory ahead of Portugal's Fabio Silvestre and Slovenian Grega Bole.

The Lotto-Soudal rider won the 118.3 kilometre ride from La Rabida to Hinojos in Andalusia by two seconds after a crash three kilometres from the finish split the peloton in two.

Thursday's 191.7km second stage, the longest of the five-day race in Andalusia, takes the riders from Utrera to Lucena.

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