Tour Down Under - et. 6
Movistar Team concludes their their participation in the inaugural 2012 World Tour event with outstanding results as 2nd in both first individual and squad rankings
Movistar Team closed in resounding success their first race of the 2012 season. The squad led on Australian turf by José Luis Arrieta leaves the Tour Down Under, the opening event of the World Tour schedule, with the grand victory by Alejandro Valverde on the Queen stage Saturday and the second place overall by the Spanish -with the same time of the winner- after six days of racing. The telephone squad did not contest the bonus sprints today in the 90km city course in Adelaide, concluding with the third stage triumph by André Greipel (LTB) into a mass sprint where José Joaquín Rojas claimed the 5th spot. Movistar Team proved to be the strongest block in the race, with up to five riders -including race debutant Javi Moreno (8th)- into the final top-20.
The big performance by Valverde, alongside local Simon Gerrans (GEC) and Portuguese Tiago Machado (RNT, 3rd) at the podium- and his six team mates are ratified by the first 2012 World Tour ranking, with Valverde (individual) and Movistar Team (squads) both into the 2nd place. The Blues will be getting started tomorrow with their long trip home, with stops in Singapore and Paris before arriving in Spain on Tuesday noon.
OVERVIEW / José Luis Arrieta (DS):
“We leave Australia really satisfied. We knew that it was going to be very hard to beat Gerrans at his home and with so many fast riders in his team. The start was really fast and they were making all breaks. There was still the chance of the final sprint, but it meant to take important risks. Rojas indeed had a couple of touches, almost got to the ground and then, you realize that if Alejandro gets there, the chance to fall is serious. The important thing was yesterday, and we’re happy with what we got today. The team was sensational all week. They rode with the attitude from last year, but having such a rider as Valverde into the team makes you shine brighter. Personally, I didn’t have any doubts that he was going to stay in his usual level. He has something that very few others can presume of in the world: if you work for him and leave him into the right spot, he doesn’t fail. When we came here, everyone was asking about him being as strong as before, but at the end of the race, they all got watching him and that made us work more to get a victory. In order to do what the lads did here this week, you’ve got to be strong and willing to do well. All seven performed really high and that’s very difficult, especially in the first race of the year. When we had to pull and take responsibilities, we did. Yesterday’s stage wasn’t won hiding, plus all those GC placings are not an individual effort. That gives even more value to what we delivered.”
Photo credit: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo