Vuelta a Andalucía (st. 3)
Alejandro Valverde takes second victory in this year’s Ruta del Sol at the Queen stage and confirms overall success –four wins this season already- following splendid work from Movistar Team
Despite his main goals being still far away, even though his racing calendar is made for smaller exigence, while he has done less racing days than in previous seasons… nothing can fight against the voraciousness of Alejandro Valverde. The Movistar Team has started his 2013 in dominating ways as he gathers already four wins in just seven days of competition after taking the Queen stage in the Vuelta a Andalucía, whose overall classification was also won by the Spaniard last year.
Valverde outsprinted the rest of the 12-man elite group at the end of a 182-kilometer trek from Lucena to Rincón de la Victoria, the bunch breaking into pieces at the demanding La Pasa ascent, whose climb was just 14k from the finish and marked the last of six categorized climbs in the day. The Murcian left behind Simon Spilak (KAT) and Davide Rebellin (CCC) after enormous help from team-mate Nairo Quintana, the last man taking control of the race into a team that pushed in all three road stages –Valverde seized control of the red jersey on Sunday’s prologue in San Fernando- with Erviti, Gutiérrez, Rojas, Plaza and Javi Moreno. The excellent overall performance brought Movistar Team the final collective victory, with Valverde, who shared the Ruta del Sol’s GC podium with Jurgen Van den Broeck (LTB) and Mollema (BLA), claiming his 73th victory in 11 years as pro rider.
REACTION – Alejandro Valverde: “Honestly, we couldn’t have closed this race in a better way. It all went a bit like planned in the morning, when we always had the idea of letting a break go and having the other teams pulling at the front of the bunch. It went that way, and at the final climb, the pace by Nairo made impossible that anyone could jump away. We all barely could follow him at that speed. In the finale, everyone was thinking of the stage win rather than the GC. The last turn was only 250 meters from the finish and I came in fourth place, maybe a bit too far, but I had good legs and could get to the top and win. I think that this is my best ever start for a season, and I’m the first one who is surprised about that. I cannot say I’m not well, because you can’t win in bad form, but I wasn’t expecting to do so well here. I’m lucky to live in Murcia and enjoy the good weather, so I can build a strong training base day by day and that makes gaining fitness easier. But the big goals are still far away and our plan is not to race too many competitions at this time of the year. I want to thank all team members, because they were splendid from the first to the last one – hats off.”