Spaniard opens Movistar Team's victory account in 2013 after a 40km action together with Portuguese Rui Costa (4th), his best support in the toughest day in Majorca
The Movistar Team riders offered today a majestic display of cycling during the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, the third race of the Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca, over 152k and five mountain climbs between Deià and the Monasterio de Lluc in Escorca. Alejandro Valverde claimed the telephone squad’s first victory of the 2013 after an exhibition from the Spaniard and his team-mates in the finale.
Enrique San made the 10-man early break leading for most of the stage and allowed the squad directed on Balearic soil by Chente García Acosta and José Luis Laguía saving their energies before the Alto de Sóller (Cat. 2), where Valverde and Portuguese Rui Costa continued an attack opened up by Bradley Wiggins (SKY). The Briton was replaced in the pursuit of the lead group by team-mate Sergio Henao, who, together with Robert Gesink (BLA) and the two Movistar Team riders, reeled the break back into the first slopes of the Puigmajor (Cat. 1).
The quartet came alone halfway through the climb and Valverde soon showed his strength, with a series of attacks that dropped Gesink several times and allowed the four reaching the summit with almost one minute over the selected pursuit group. Valverde tried again into the slopes after the final descent, but the insistence from Henao on following his wheel brought the race into a sprint, where Rui Costa worked exceptionally for his team-mate to claim the victory.
It’s Valverde’s 70th success in his pro career as he opens, just like in 2012, Movistar Team’s victory account with just two days of competition covered, and fills his companions’ moral in search for another win in the last day of the Challenge: the Trofeo Alcúdia-Can Picafort-Playa de Muro, over 170km and four categorized climbs, yet far from the finish.
REACTION Alejandro Valverde: “I knew I was strong, but I didn’t quite know how my reactions were going to be as I’m taking things more cautiously this season. I knew I had ended the 2012 season in really good shape, and came here with good motivation, and it’s true that once you’re up-front, you always try to win. When you’re calm, when your sensations while training are good from the very start and the team is doing well, things go smooth. I want to thank all my team-mates, the people that is always supporting me and Movistar, for their continued help so this project carries on. We started the Sóller downhill in good position, the group splitted and since we got close to the break, we kept pushing. I always had good sensations during the stage. When into the climb, just me and Rui with Henao and Gesink, it was a matter of attacking the two of us to drop Henao, but he was really strong and responded well, so we waited for the sprint. Rui worked really well and we could win. Taking a victory so early in the season is always better, because it gives confidence to you as well as to the squad.”