Ruta del Sol: Valverde wins Overall, Moreno Hofland the Stage


The Ruta del Sol concluded with a bunch finish after a tight twisty city centre finish won by Belkin’s Moreno Hofland. The overall was won by Valverde for Movistar who are sponsored by Endura.

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Valverde wins Overall, Moreno Hofland the Stage

A tough climb out of Ubrique to kick off the day saw an interesting nine-man break form featuring a number of big names and teams. With Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) among the escapees, Movistar looked to peg the gap and quickly seize control.

A tense battle ensued heading into the final 50km, and with the gap coming down the leaders looked to control their own fate by attacking one another on the undulating terrain. Dumoulin proved the strongest and forged clear on his own as the break capitulated in behind.

The run to the coastal resort of Fuengirola was far from straightforward with an uncategorised climb to Mijas likely to see a number of speculative attacks. With the gap still healthy at 25km to go there was a surge of pace in the peloton, Geraint Thomas lifting the tempo before Kiryienka drove on. Other teams also came to the fore while Dumoulin continued to bury himself out front. The high pace took its toll and things came back together with 5km to go, only for a late roundabout and technical finish throw a spanner in the works of many lead-out trains.

Nikias Arndt who was 2nd had this to say afterwards): “It’s nice to finish here with a result but you are never happy with a second place,” said a slightly disappointed Nikias. “Tom did a great job out front all day meaning that the guys didn’t have to do any chasing before the end.”

“It was quite tough and technical at the end and we only had two guys to lead me out but Simon (Geschke) dropped me off in a perfect position with one kilometre to go and from there it was up to me. At the end Moreno was just quicker. I’ve been riding the Giant Propel out here and it’s a great bike. On the descents today you can really feel that it just takes you where you want to go and when you put the power down you go quick. I can’t wait for the next race now.”


Another win for Valverde in Ruta del Sol
Alejandro Valverde claimed a third consecutive Vuelta a Andalucía Ruta del Sol. The Movistar rider made history in the Ruta del Sol by becoming the first-ever rider to take three overall victories and claiming them consecutively. The Movistar leader and his team-mates had no troubles during a hilly, 160km stage from Ubrique and Fuengirola.

Valverde with 77 wins as pro rider, added the Points classification to his GC conquest for the best season start in his career, equalling the four triumphs – one win in Mallorca, two stages and overall in Andalusia- he claimed in an ever-consistent 2013.

Second was Richie Porte of Team Sky. He finished the race 26 seconds behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and was able to also defend the two-second margin back to fellow podium finisher Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

After the what he described as a ‘very very sketchy’ finale, he said to “The whole week the guys have been absolutely incredible. There’s a lot of horsepower in the team. We’ve had guys like Xabi Zandio on the front all day yesterday. Geraint (Thomas) and Pete (Kennaugh) doing a brilliant job. Everybody was fantastic.”

“It was a shame we couldn’t win a stage between us but it was good that it was such a hard race and everyone is going to come out of it stronger than when they went in. The uphill finishes suited him down to the ground and hat’s off to him he’s in great shape. For us it’s good to see where we’re at. I know where I’m at and I’m nowhere near at 100 percent. So to come away with second this week is a nice indication of what I can do this season.”

Porte also reserved praise for seemingly indestructible team-mate Vasil Kiryienka, who persevered after a hard crash and collision with a rock just 17km into the final stage. “He lost it on a corner attacking at the start,” he explained. “In Kiryienka versus a rock I guess the rock was always going to come off second best. He was quickly back in the peloton. He’s a legend.”

1 HOFLAND Moreno Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 04:09:53
2 ARNDT Nikias Team Giant-Shimano
3 VANBILSEN Kenneth Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
4 VAN ASBROECK Tom Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 00:01
5 THEUNS Edward Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
6 VIGANO Davide Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
7 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky
8 IZAGIRRE Ion Movistar Team
9 HOELGAARD Daniel Etixx
10 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team

12 HENDERSON Greg Lotto Belisol
16 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky
21 CIOLEK Gerald MTN – Qhubeka
35 PORTE Richie Team Sky @ 12 secs
43 SANCHEZ Luis Leon Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
52 REBELLIN Davide CCC Polsat Polkowice
91 VOIGT Jens Trek Factory Racing @ 40
100 WIGGINS Bradley Team Sky @ 47

1 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team 18:47:45
2 PORTE Richie Team Sky 00:31
3 SANCHEZ Luis Leon Caja Rural – Seguros RGA 00:33
4 IZAGIRRE Ion Movistar Team
5 KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team 00:43
6 MOLLEMA Bauke Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:55
7 DEGAND Thomas Wanty – Groupe Gobert 01:02
8 NAVARRO GARCIA Daniel Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 01:06
9 SCARPONI Michele Astana Pro Team 01:13
10 MATE MARDONES Luis Angel Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 01:24

11 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky 01:30
18 REBELLIN Davide CCC Polsat Polkowice
40 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky 09:37
71 WIGGINS Bradley Team Sky 17.04
112 VOIGT Jens Trek Factory Racing 39:33


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