Vuelta – Sensational Valverde Victory


When the Vuelta reached its first summit finish, Alejandro Valverde was in sensational form to win the stage and take the Red jersey

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Vuelta – Sensational Valverde Victory

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The GC is given a good shake by Alejandro Valverde as the first climbs sorts out who are the GC favourites and who are now the underdogs

Stage 6 Valverde wins


Photo: Vuelta a España 

Movistar Team’s dream start in the 2014 Vuelta a España stepped up a gear on stage 6 as Alejandro Valverde was simply superb on the race’s first Category 1 climb of Cumbres Verdes following 167km of rolling roads from Benalmádena. In short, he went to the front and put the hammer down putting many a star in difficulty and then in the rush to the line, held off the challenge of Chris Froome and that ungainly style of his to win the stage and take the Leader’s jersey.

The Stage
Pim Lighthart (Lotto-Belisol) came out at the start and presumably wanted a re-match after yesterday’s failed breakway as he launched the first break of the day along with and Lluis Más Bonet (Caja Rural Seguros). The escapees managed to open a gap of about 15 minutes before the peloton started turning round the big gears to reel them back in.

Stage 6 Ligthart-Mas Bonnet

Photo: Vuelta a España 

Thundering towards the final slope, the roads narrowd and Lluis Más Bonet was the first to go backwards before Pim Lighthart too was reeled in by an ever decreasing selection of the GC favourites. The TV cameras caught sight of British Champion Pete Kennaugh riding full gas for his team leader as the domestiques in the race, did their best to give their team leaders position on the road as they reached the final obstacle of the day, a 4k steep climb to the finish line.

One by one, several GC contenders where dropped but still there was Alberto Contador whose broken leg in the Tour de France was holding up well and his form better than his predications before the race. With Movistar in control at the front, Cofidis threw in an attack and then with 700 meters to go, Joaquim Rodriguez took off. It may have been his sort of finish but he could not escape the battle between the GC favourites, Contador, Froom, Quintana and Valverde.

It was that man Valverde, wearing the British made Endura kit, who was doing the ride. After working through the second part of the finishing ascent (4km with slopes over 10%) for his Columbian team-mate Nairo Quintana, the Spaniard Valverde saw off two accelerations by Rodríguez and a ‘slow mo’ attack by Froome after the flamme rouge to sprint to the line for the 11th win of the season, the 84th in his career

Stage 6 Froome-Valverde-Quintana

Photo: Vuelta a España 

Alejandro Valverde: “This victory means a lot to me. Though it’s harder to feel great with these temperatures, my legs were really good today, I felt well all over the course and I was able to win. It was a climb that really suited me and we couldn’t miss such an opportunity had we got it – still, I think everyone saw clearly I was working for Nairo”.

“There was a tailwind into the climb and it was hard for anyone in the main group to go away, they had to stay on our wheel. I was setting a strong pace to take some rivals out of contention, but saving an extra bit of energy in case anyone attacked. As it happened with both Purito and Froome. I never looked back: as well Nair, the team car were telling me to keep the pace: ‘Only ten or twelve riders behind you.'”

“When Purito jumped away, I didn’t think about it for a second – I went after him. He’s someone we can’t let take a single metre. I still had strength to counter and go for the win, so, at the end of the day, we couldn’t do better: we took some rivals out of contention, though gaps weren’t really huge – we also took some bonus seconds and the result is fantastic for the whole team. For me, the main leader of the squad is still Nairo, though I don’t rule out my own chances”.

“I keep really clear in my mind he’ll be doing better and better, and he showed today he’s up for the fight. Many mountains will come for him to do great. We get on really well with each other and I worked my heart out for him today. If I keep feeling well, I’ll try and go for some more stage wins, though I keep faith GC-wise. The important thing is that one of us Blues can win the race.”

Nairo Quintana: “I’m extremely happy for Alejandro. He’s a great rider. He did a great work for me in the finale and still was able to win the stage – that’s something not many riders can do. I’m still lacking some pace, you could see in the final kilometre I’m not still in my top condition, but I hope to keep progressing in the next stages. The important thing for us is to keep the win within the team, no matter if it’s him or me, and for the time being, that goal is being fulfilled”.


1. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team 4:35:27
2. Froome Christopher, Team Sky
3. Contador Alberto, Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Rodríguez Joaquim, Team Katusha @0:08
5. Quintana Nairo, Movistar Team 0:12

18. Martin Daniel, Garmin Sharp 0.59
19. Uran Rigoberto, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step1:04
20. Yates Adam, Orica GreenEDGE 1:07
38. Evans Cadel, BMC Racing Team 2.16
60. Gilbert Philippe, BMC Racing Team 6.02
101. Kennaugh Peter, Team Sky 10:39
120. Sagan Peter, Cannondale 11.15
150. Matthews Michael, Orica GreenEDGE13:08
155. Rowe Luke, Team Sky13:34
172. Craven Dan, Team Europcar 14.26
176. Millar David, Garmin Sharp15:24

1. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team 22:48:08
2. Quintana Nairo, Movistar Team 0:15
3. Contador Alberto, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:18
4. Froome Christopher, Team Sky 0:22
5. Chaves Rubio Johan Esteban, Orica GreenEDGE 0:41
6. Rodríguez Joaquim, Team Katusha 0:45
7. Gesink Robert, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:55
8. Aru Fabio, Astana Pro Team 0:58
9. Barguil Warren, Team Giant-Shimano 1:02
10. Kelderman Wilco, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 1:06
11. Nieve Mikel, Team Sky 1:09
12. Sánchez Samuel, BMC Racing Team 1:11
13. Caruso Damiano, Cannondale 1:12
14. Uran Rigoberto, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 1:18
15. Pardilla Bellon Sergio, MTN – Qhubeka 1:19
16. Navarro Garcia Daniel, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 1:26
17. Martin Daniel, Garmin Sharp 1:37
18. Landa Mikel, Astana Pro Team 1:47
19. Anacona Gomez Winner, Lampre-Merida 1:57
20. Moreno Daniel, Team Katusha 2:06


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