News: Valverde wins GP Indurain

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) solos to win the one day race in Spain, GP Indurain ahead of Alexey Lutsenko and Luis León Sánchez (Astana – Premier Tech)

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News: Valverde wins GP Indurain

Photo Gomez Sport / Movistar Team

Alejandro Valverde shows his best legs in years to winning the GP Indurain after a sensational series of attacks near the end of Movistar’s home race.

Astana – Premier Tech took control of the race from the beginning, showing the depth of the team at the front of the peloton to control the six-rider breakaway. Oscar Rodriguez and Javier Romo worked really well in front, step by step bringing the traditional early breakaway back. The race hit the reset button with 70 kilometres remaining when the breakaway was caught, setting the stage for further attacks.

It was Ion Izagirre, who launched a powerful attack with some 45 kilometres to go to create a new group of leaders together with Luis Leon Sanchez. The Spanish champion attacked shortly later and was joined by three riders, forming a strong quartet that built a 40-second advantage in the last 20 kilometres of the race. While Luis Leon Sanchez was pulling hard in the leading group, Alexey Lutsenko, Omar Fraile, Alex Aranburu and Ion Izagirre were part of a reduced peloton behind.

Sanchez proved to be the strongest of the four riders and eventually dropped his breakaway companions on the Alto de Eraul but was quickly joined by Valverde who jumped clear from the chase group. Behind, Lutsenko launched an impressive attack and capitalized on his downhill skills to bridge to the Spanish duo as they hit the final three kilometres.

Lutsenko and Sanchez were unable to match a late attack from Valverde on the final uncategorized rise with two kilometres remaining and who went on to win the race whilst  digging deep on the descent into Estella, the Astana – Premier Tech duo held on to rounde out the podium after an aggressive day of racing in the Basque Country.

Valverde:  “I want to thank everyone who supports me and all the people who cared about me and enjoys cycling. I’m super happy with this victory today. I want to thank the team, too, for their great job. We knew it was going to be a difficult day, with Astana being the strongest unit today and doing a great job to keep the race under control from the beginning.

“At that final race situation with ‘Luisle’ and Lutsenko I was in a bit of fear – we’re talking about two super strong riders, which made it not easy to manage. When Lutsenko went so fast after Muru and took those metres I knew, though, that it wasn’t long until Ibarra, and I used my energy well to remain close and then, at the final part of the climb, give it my all with that final attack and open that gap.”

“This victory gives me so much joy and confidence towards the Itzulia – hopefully we can have as good weather there as in Navarra. My legs are feeling well and we’ll be bringing a great them there. I want to dedicate this victory to our great friend, Gary Baños – wherever he is, he will have surely enjoyed that one. Things are starting to go well for us as a team, and that’s important to keep improving and leave more challenging times behind.”

Photo Gomez Sport / Movistar Team

Alexey Lutsenko. “I recovered pretty well after my crash at Paris-Nice and since then I’ve done a big amount of work to come back in form for this part of the season. I am still on my way towards the Ardennes classics, but so far I feel good and I think I spent a good day on the bike. I suffered a bit in the first half of the race, while later I felt much better, so I was up there in front for the decisive part.”

“When I saw Valverde attacking from our group and catching Luis Leon, I counterattacked to join them. Together with Luis Leon we did our best, I tried to attack on the descent, but it did not work. Well, it was a good chance to win this race and we did all we could for that, but this time Valverde was just stronger. However, I am happy with my performance and now I am looking forward to the next week at Itzulia Basque Country. The main goal is still the same – to build up my form for the Ardennes, but if I see a chance to fight for a stage win I will try to use it”

Luis Leon Sanchez. “Once again, I was close to a victory, but missed it. Of course, I am a bit disappointed because I did my best today, but it was not enough. The team was perfect, and the guys did an amazing job for me, providing the best moment to attack. Everything went well in our late breakaway and I made my attack on the last big climb, but later Valverde was able to join me. Together with Alexey we tried to play our cards, but it did not work out. I have no regrets about this race as the team and I did all we could. Now I am looking forward to a short rest at home before coming back to racing with the Tour of the Alps and the Giro d’Italia”

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