Team News – Valverde Tops in Ruta Del Sol


Alejandro Valverde denied race leader Van Garderen the win in Ruta Del Sol after the Spaniard smashed the race wide open on the final day – dedicates win to teammate Adriano Malori:

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Team News – Valverde Tops in Ruta Del Sol



Valverde everlasting king in Andalucía

Alejandro Valverde showed again, fourteen seasons after his pro debut, that his consistency and courage the same as those the world saw in his early years. Despite his early season goals being still more than two months away, the Movistar Team leader, eighth overall after Saturday’s time trial in the Vuelta a Andalucía, turned the GC upside down in the Ruta del Sol on the final stage.

With an attack full of determination on the climb of Peñas Blancas at end of the 171km stage five, his aggresive riding saw awarded him the day’s honours and a record-setting fourth GC success.

The Movistar team went on the attack from the very start. Juanjo Lobato, Rory Sutherland and Rubén Fernández tried several attacks through out the first two hours of racing. The Murcian Rubén Fernández ultimately got away with Geschke (TGA) and Wellens (LTS) on the first climb of Peñas Blancas. The pace by BMC behind never let Rubén’s attempt gain more than 1’30” and the Spaniard was eventually caught as a crash with no major damage done on the ascent left Wellens alone and ahead till the last 15km.

A move from Dani Moreno with eight kilometers to go derailed the Sky train at the front and prepared Bala’s decisive acceleration well protected by Imanol Erviti and Javi Moreno as well as all his team-mates.

With 7km left, Valverde soon started opening a huge gap that grew up to 50 seconds. Despite attempts from former leader Van Garderen and a jump from Mollema (TFS) in the final kilometre, Valverde crossed the line with 48” over the red jersey to claim his 91st and 92nd victories as pro.



REACTION: Alejandro Valverde: “It’s the most exciting victory of the four I’ve got here. It’s true that the previous three were also beautiful, but I was feeling like this one was going away from my hands day by day. I felt comfortable all stage today, despite the route being so demanding – which also was for me.

The team was also doing well and wanted to try and move the race, and we profited from several other teams who wished to go on the attack to make a fast race so we could get a chance to leave Van Garderen back into the last climb.

We launched several of our guys into the early moves, with Rubén into a more serious break and Dani in the finale, and when I saw the others struggling a bit halfway through the last Peña Blancas, I knew that I had to go on a long attack if I wanted to win the GC.

[pullquote]This victory is a tribute to many people. The main one is Adriano Malori: you all know he’s still recovering after his crash in Argentina, and I want to wish him the best.[/pullquote]

“Last year in the Vuelta I suffered more than today, even as I did worse than today. I knew the climb, went again to look at it this week before the race, and knew how to tackle it. I always had time references from the team car against my rivals during the attack, and wasn’t comfortable with that gap, so I just kept going and going on full steam until the finishing line.

I knew I was well, but didn’t feel I could gain so much space today. I was a bit lucky, also due to the fact that they changed the route just before the race to add that second ascent of Peñas Blancas – it granted me a bigger chance.

“I trained well over the winter; with good weather in Murcia, doing otherwise would be difficult. However, I saw other teams going strong, those coming to train and race in Spain, the ones who started their seasons in Australia or Argentina… it really seems like the peloton has stepped up their game a bit compared to previous seasons in the early part of the year.

Fortunately, and despite being close to turning 36, I’m feeling as excited and fit as when I was 22, even more so today – being able to stay with the top guys in the peloton makes me really happy.

“This victory is a tribute to many people. The main one is Adriano Malori: you all know he’s still recovering after his crash in Argentina, and I want to wish him the best. Also the team: they all did fantastically well. The fans: as well in Andalucía as in the rest of Spain, they are spectacular and treat me really well. Also, my family, the kids, all the people who support me. My next goals? We’ll be heading to Strade Bianche in two weeks, then Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and then, the Northern classics, Harelbeke and Flanders above all.”



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