Vuelta a España (st. 9)
6th place for Spaniard at Montjuïc after big overcoming -including an attack- at the final climb and a great sprint that gives him back 3 secs against Froome and Contador
Alejandro Valverde came to show again his excellent fitness level at the ninth stage of the 2012 Vuelta a España, the last from the opening block of the race over 196km from Andorra to a complicated finish in Barcelona, with the climb of Montjuïc (Cat. 3) in the final four kilometers. The Spanish rider from Movistar Team made a big progression into the uphill to get at the front of the group and even open some meters over a 50-rider bunch from which Philippe Gilbert (BMC), winner of the day’s stage, and GC leader Joaquim Rodríguez (KAT) had previously escaped.
Valverde was eventually 6th into a sprint where he gained three seconds over two of his rivals, Froome (SKY) and Contador (STB), into an overall classification where he’s still in 4th, 1.07 behind Rodríguez. Monday will bring a well-deserved first rest day in Pontevedra for the Movistar Team riders after an aircraft transfer this evening –all vehicles and staff will make the 1,200-kilometer route on the road- to Galicia.
QUOTES Alejandro Valverde: “The result was almost predictable: it was a dangerous finish, we were riding on full steam and I started the Montjuïc climb really far from the front, around the 60th or 70th position. I was overtaking people at the climb, almost dodging them, and I could make it to Contador and even attack with him at the climb, but Purito and Gilbert were already at front and it was hard to keep opening room at the downhill. I started sprinting with 300m from the finish and I could take those three seconds. I’m not worried about today’s attack because Purito is doing a great Vuelta and is a fair, deserved leader. The rest day will do good for us. I don’t know the Galician roads, but I know that’s a beautiful place and I hope to perform well and keep this form coming.”