Movistar Team exhibition in Amorebieta
08 April 2012

Klasika Primavera

Visconti, Valverde do one-two at Klasika Primavera, with López and Madrazo into the top five after domination from start to finish by Blue squad in their ninth 2012 success

Movistar Team made an absolute exhibition in the 58th edition of the Klasika Primavera in Amorebieta. Giovanni Visconti broke up with his bad fortune in the beginning of the season and notched up his first victory in Blue colours before Alejandro Valverde, EUS’s Igor Antón, David López and Ángel Madrazo, thus leading a superb performance from the riders directed by José Luis Jaimerena with four men within the best five of the day. The telephone squad led the bunch all the way through the 171-kilometer course on Basque turf, firstly to control the ten-man break leading most of the race, and then, into the final lap through the climbs of Montecalvo (Cat. 2) and Autzagane (Cat. 3), splitting up the group of favourites with the duo attack by Valverde and Madrazo in the hardest climb of the day, only joined by Antón, López and Visconti in the final ascent. At the sprint, Movistar Team made their superiority count into the leading four and Visconti overtook Valverde to catch the ninth triumph of the season for his team before the upcoming challenge for both: the Ardeness classics -Amstel, Flèche and Liège- starting next week.

Giovanni Visconti: “This is a victory I was really looking for, because my season start was so unfortunate. I knew my condition was good already before Flanders, but that last virus left me sore and until this week I could not train properly. I did a 215-kilometer ride on Thursday and that made me confident about playing out my chances today. Added to that, if you have such a squad like this, controlling the race from start to finish, and someone at your service like Alejandro did, everything is way easier. Valverde is an idol for me, because I’m sort of a little ‘him’ in terms of riding characteristics. I can’t even compare to him where it comes it palmarès, but he performs well from January to October, just like he does. That’s why he’s a reference for me, and helping me like he did is a honour I hope to reward back to him in the classics. Should I become a fundamental man so he can get good results there, it’ll already be a quality leap for myself. This is victory goes dedicated for my family, my son Thomas, and also all the team for their confidence on me, but especially to Eusebio Unzué, because, rather than putting pressure on me, gave me moral for the bad moments.

Alejandro Valverde: “After the crash in Catalunya I recovered at home, and when starting training, I felt like I was well. Since the beginning we perfectly knew we had to take the responsibility, not only for myself, but also for Giovanni, who was in really good shape. We rode really active during the finale: at the last Muniketa downhill, Madrazo and I went apart and we pushed on full steam until they reeled us back on the final climb. At the sprint, David López did the leadout for us, with Visconti on his wheel and me on Antón’s, and when Visconti launched it he could keep the speed well so we could take one-two. This race is different to the classics, but still gives me moral and some racing pace to get up-front next week. The team was sensational, I can’t ask anything else from them. It’s as good as it gets.

Three Blues survive to Hell
In other news, Ignatas Konovalovas took a fine 22nd in the 2012 edition of Paris-Roubaix, one of the fastest in the recent history of the French monument where three of the riders directed by Yvon Ledanois had the privilege to enter the mythical Velodrome after 257 kilometers, more than fifty on cobblestones, and twenty-seven tough sections where the Lithuanian, together with Costa Rican Andrey Amador, even made the group of favourites before the decisive attack from winner Tom Boonen (OPQ), notching up a record-equalling fourth victory. Imanol Erviti repeated his 2011 performance and made it three telephone squad riders at the finish.