Ireland's Dan Martin made a blistering start to the 2020 Vuelta De Espana, finishing third on the opening stage, a mere second behind defending champion Primoz Roglic.

Roglic who lost the Tour de France yellow jersey on the last competitive stage last month a 173-km trek from Irun, powered away from a small group of top contenders with one km to go in the Alto de Arrate.

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz took second place one second behind as his Ineos-Grenadiers team mate and four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome was dropped even before the final ascent, a 5.3km effort at an average gradient of 7.7%, just like France's Thibaut Pinot.

Martin was third, also one second off the pace after Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team mate American Sepp Kuss blew the peloton apart in the last climb with a brutal acceleration.

Tour de France green jersey winner Sam Bennett finished back in 138th, 15:20 behind stage winner Rogic. 

The Vuelta's flat start in the Netherlands was scrapped as the race was rescheduled amid the Covid-19 crisis and there was no stand-off in Tuesday's first stage.

Former Giro champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands started as Jumbo-Visma's co-leader but he was unable to follow when Kuss made his move and crossed the line 51 seconds behind Roglic.