Vuelta a Andalucía (st. 4)
Alejandro Valverde takes telephone squad’s first GC success of the season after another impressive teamwork exhibition en route to La Guardia
Alejandro Valverde continues with the winning streak in his comeback season into the elite of cycling and has notched his third victory of the season on Wednesday as he won the overall classification in the 2012 Vuelta a Andalucía. The Murcian rider from Movistar Team had no troubles to defend his leader jersey in the steep slopes of La Guardia de Jaén, the Cat. 3 climb putting an end to a 135-kilometer race where Valverde’s team-mates again controlled the bunch to perfection all day. At the final meters, Dani Moreno (KAT) launched a strong move to take the day’s honours before Valverde, who seized the overall win in the Andalusian event, his 65th victory after nine seasons in the pro scene, and also the Combination and Points rankings.
Alejandro Valverde: “We can say we have won at last after these two tremendously hard days for me, but especially for the team. To be honest, the other teams made us suffer a lot, and we rode impressively hard today because we couldn’t let the break gain much time with Voigt in it. The team was excellent again today and I’d have liked to reward them with the victory, but the main goal was the overall and we accomplished it. I was looking at Taaramäe at the finish, because for me, he was the most dangerous guy, and when Dani Moreno attacked i didn’t even think of going past him. I did not make my move until well into the finish, at least to take 2nd, but Dani was phenomenal and deserved that victory. This win is for all the team and also for our sponsor Movistar, because they always relied on me and made a huge gamble on cycling with this team. This season start is hard to bear for me. I won in a WorldTour event in Australia and the field racing here was really strong. That thing about the top guns going training into early-season races is history now, and now there’s a big level in all races. You just have to look at today’s classification. There’s just over a week left before Paris-Nice and some of the rivals I’ll find there were here too, surely in good condition.”
José Luis Arrieta (DS): “The lads have been sensational today, I can’t put any remarks on them. We had to pull almost from start to finish these three days; the first one, to get Alejandro on top, and the two latter ones, to defend the leader jersey, and all of them were spot on. These were two complicated stages because they were short and with no terrain to rest, and that makes difficult to make order, but thew were focused all race and we got it under control. It was specially hard today because a rider like Voigt, in such short stages, mustn’t be left far because, with only seven riders per team, you don’t have any big reaction margin. This team had always been used to work for a leader and is doing again this season. Having someone like Alejandro helps, too. He’s so nice, so normal and grateful that his teammates give even more than their best on the road.”