Paris-Nice (st. 8)
Movistar Team leader resists on final mountain TT up Col d’Eze, leaves the race with a 3rd spot overall and another brilliant stage victory in his comeback season
Alejandro Valverde keeps clinching objectives in the early part of his comeback season into cycling’s world elite, and completed a sensational Paris-Nice on Sunday with the third place in the overall classification of the prestigious French stagerace. The Movistar Team leader kept his honour place into the final stage, a 9.5-kilometer mountain time trial up the Col d’Eze where he could not contest the victory, a close battle between overall victor Bradley Wiggins (SKY) and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra (VCD). The two accompanied Valverde at the race’s final podium, the Spaniard leaving French soil also with a stage win notched up on Tuesday at the Lac de Vassivière -his fourth of the season-, success that take them right on top of the leaderboard at the 2012 UCI World Tour provisional ranking. Movistar Team completed a great race all week -Moreno was 16th today, the same place taken in the GC by Rojas, 2nd on stage two- and ends on third place in the teams’ classification, with the Blues now second on the latest update in the world ranking.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “The goal when coming to this race was winning a stage, and we got it. I already stated that everything coming after that would be a bonus, and this podium really is it. I’m really happy with the third place. Even though I’m always on front, I don’t get to win the overall of Paris-Nice, but the important thing is that I’m there, fighting with the top riders in the biggest races. I knew there were few chances to close in on Wiggins and Westra because they were riding very strong and the ITT was in favour of them more than myself. Despite all that, I had a good feeling on the road and knew that I was going to clock a good time. I want to thank everyone from the team because they were incredible throughout the week. This podium is theirs, and also the first place in the World Tour ranking, which makes me really happy and would have been imposible to reach without them.”
Herrada best performer at Tirreno queen stage
In turn, José Herrada was Movistar Team’s best contender at the toughest stage in the 47th Tirreno-Adriatico, ridden this afternoon over 196 kilometers from Martinsicuro to the Cat. 1 ski station of Prati di Tivo. The Spaniard rode bravely today as he attacked from a 30-rider group splitting into the final ascent -with Beñat Intxausti also on the lead- with six kilometers from the finish line. His attempt was reeled back into the group before the decisive move by Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ), winner of the day with fourteen seconds over Roman Kreuziger (AST) and Chris Horner (RNT), who keeps the blue jersey as Herrada is still within the best twenty. The race will offer Movistar Team their last shot at a stage success on Monday -the event will conclude with a 9km individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday- as the final road stage in Offida rides over six laps around the traditional route of youth World and European championships in recent years, set to offer big spectacle.