News – Valverde Ready to Challenge


Endura clad Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde ready to challenge Vincenzo Nibali for the Tour de France win if the opportunity arises

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News – Valverde Ready to Challenge
(from Movistar team website)

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“I’m in the place I more or less expected to be at this point of the race” says Valverde who sits in second place, 4.37 down on the leader Vincenzo Nibali. His lead over the 3rd place rider Bardet through is seconds (13) and there is a queue of four riders all ready to jump into a podium spot should Valverde lose more time like he did on stage 14.

“It’s been quite a peculiar Tour, with the abandons of Froome and Alberto” Valverde explains. “Still, Nibali has shown to be super strong. I’m in second position and I’m happy to be in that place. There’s still a long way to go, with three demanding stages in the Pyrenees. They begin on Tuesday with a HC mountain to climb just before the finish at the bottom of said climb and then two summit finishes before a flat stage, time trial and then Paris.

“After such a Tour, so demanding, anything could happen: we could gain time, lose more… who knows” says Valverde. “It’s obvious that the more we get from these stages, the better, so we can tackle the time trial with a good chance. We must keep looking forward, never surrender and never say ‘it’s enough with just second place’. You have to aspire to something else – but for the time being, we’re happy with it.”

Will he take advantage if Nibali has a bad day? “Up to date, he’s proven to be the strongest rider in this Tour. We have done two weeks of racing, the Pyrenees are coming in the last week and we’re humans – everyone can have a bad day. Should he suffer and we find good legs, we’ll try to profit from it, but looking at how things have stood, he’s looking really strong, superior to us”.

“Still, we will never give up. Over these three days, we’ll try to fight and take as much time as possible wherever we can, but we don’t know where we will attempt to do it. Any strategy, we keep it to ourselves. Any of the three stages can be dangerous: tomorrow’s is the one after the rest day and is rather long; the one on Wednesday, finishing atop Saint-Lary, is really stressful, short, just 125km, with four tough climbs and it’s going to be a hard one; and the third, with Tourmalet and Hautacam, is also demanding”.

“Even more after the two previous stages and everything we’ve gone through in this Tour. It will be as difficult as the other ones. I don’t know which one will be more crucial”.

On who his biggest rival for the podium is, Valverde says “It if comes down only to the final time trial, I’d say Van Garderen is the most threatening. Péraud is also a good time triallist. Pinot and Bardet? They’re good, but I don’t think they’re superior to me in a TT considering previous results”.

“Besides, it’s a special time trial; we will see how the form of everyone unfolds after these four days, because it’s not flat at all, but long and demanding. For me, all four are dangerous, because they’re close enough to get onto the podium with a great TT. At the moment, we just think about the Pyrenees.”

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