Report: Vuelta a Andalucia (Ruta Del Sol)

Tim Wellens breaks clear to win final stage in Vuelta a Andalucia, Valverde gets his 100th pro victory

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Report: Vuelta a Andalucia (Ruta Del Sol)

Tim Wellens breaks clear to win final stage in Vuelta a Andalucia, Valverde gets his 100th pro victory


The rain materialized for stage five as predicted, creating a tricky ending to the final day in the Vuelta a Andalucía. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) captured the stage victory from the breakaway in a six-man sprint, while Valverde clinched the overall victory with a one second advantage over Contador.

After only a few kilometres of racing, Wellens got in front with seven others: Bravo, Campenaerts, Clarke, Minnaard, Novak, Paterski and van der Lijke. The escapees got more than six minutes advantage but in the finale, Sport Vlaanderen did loads of work to reduce the gap to the front group, but the peloton couldn’t close the gap anymore.

With a gap of almost two minutes, there was some poker played and after the usual classic attacks and counter attacks, the stage was decided in a sprint with victory going to Wellens. Simon Clarke was second and Victor Campenaerts got third.

Tim Wellens: “There was a lot of headwind in the beginning of the stage. Everyone was attentive and nervous. Still, we could get away with eight on an uphill section. We had to ride very hard to build a sufficient lead. When the gap rose from four to six minutes I believed we would battle for the stage win. In the finale I tried to get rid of the others, but my attempt was unsuccessful.”

“With twenty kilometres to go we had three minutes advantage left, a big enough margin. In the break we were all scared of each other. Everyone was looking at the others and no one could get away. I started sprinting at two hundred metres from the finish. Beforehand, I wasn’t certain at all that I would win the sprint, but it was actually pretty convincing. I like it more to win this way than to finish solo. If I can choose it can be exciting.”

“I know the area where we rode very well because I rented a house in Torremolinos last year and trained a lot on these roads. It’s nice to win here now. Last season I won four times. Now it’s half February and I have already won three races. I had never expected that a few weeks ago. My next goal will be Strade Bianche on 4 March. It’s the first time that I will take part in that race, but I believe that I can set a nice result.”


Alejandro Valverde (GC Winner): “I’m super happy. It was quite a fought race and it made it even more sweet to win. The team was superb, all of them – as with every victory I’ve achieved, I can’t thank them enough for their support. It wasn’t an easy day by any means: rain, cold temperatures, gusty winds…”
“We all really suffered. At the end, that struggling made difficult to see any attacks, and so we secured this fifth victory in the race, which took so much to obtain. It obviously makes me happy to be celebrating 100 victories as a professional”.

“It’s the sign of a fantastic career, one where above all I’ve enjoyed a lot riding my bike – and I hope I can improve those numbers in the future. There won’t be much time for celebrations, as Paris-Nice starts in two weeks’ time and it will be a big goal for us. Let’s hope the season continues this way.”

Alberto Contador “Today was really complicated to take back time because the parcours was dangerous due to the rain and the wind, especially at the beginning of the stage” explained Contador, who chose to play it safe in the finale. “I did not want to take too many risks; it is the beginning of the season, I have worked hard, and I did not want it to all end with a crash.”

“I am very happy with my sensations in my first race of the season. From the first day, I was fighting for the victory, and my feelings on the bike were very good.,” agreed Contador.

“Paris-Nice is my first major goal. Now I will go to Abu Dhabi to help my preparation, but it is not an objective. I hope that in Paris-Nice I will be in good shape to fight for the win. I am very happy with everything in the team; everyone worked super well together, and the morale couldn’t be better.”
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1. Tim Wellens, Lotto Soudal
2. Simon Clarke, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
3. Victor Campenaerts, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Maciej Paterski, CCC Sprandi Polkowice
5. Domen Novak, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
6. Nick van der Lijke, Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
7. Marco Minnaard, Wanty – Groupe Gobert 1:34
8. Héctor Saez, Caja Rural – Seguros RGA 1:45
9. Cortina Garcia , IvanBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
10. Hugo Hofstetter, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits

15. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team
25. Alberto Contador, Trek – Segafredo
41. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ
75. Hugh Carthy, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
120. Marcin Bialoblocki, CCC Sprandi Polkowice
123. Mark Mcnally, Wanty – Groupe Gobert

1. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team
2. Alberto Contador, Trek – Segafredo
3. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ
4. Wout Poels, Team Sky
5. Diego Rosa, Team Sky
6. Mikel Landa, Team Sky
7. Sebastien Reichenbach, FDJ
8. Rigoberto Uran, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
9. Ondrej Cink, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team



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