Spaniard progresses to top-ten finish in Huy after great work from Movistar Team – Doyenne in his mind after winning in 2006, 2008
Even though he stated after his 2nd place in the Amstel Gold race his sights were set on Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday, Alejandro Valverde’s competitive spirit came into the spotlight during the 2013 Flèche Wallonne held today in Belgium. The Movistar Team leader was always backed by a solid telephone squad, that took him calm through the 205-kilometer parcours between Binche and the Mur de Huy, whose last of three climbs witnessed the victory of Spaniard Dani Moreno (KAT).
The great ride by the Blues always kept the race under control, with Lastras, Erviti and Madrazo pushing to chase the day’s breakaway while Visconti and Costa controlled the brief gaps after the second Huy ascent. Valverde progressed after coming a bit behind into the last passage, and his constant climbing led him to 7th, confirming last Sunday’s great sensations and putting him on top row for the ‘Doyenne’ (Sunday, 10.30h; 261km), whose route and previous appearances favour the Spaniard’s chances in the fourth monument of the season.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “I’m a bit disappointed I couldn’t fight for the victory today because it’s such a wonderful race, but I’m happy with how I felt. This is a very particular finish, with a slight descent at the end and lots of riders willing to take the front. You get into such a finish, you usually are tired before the slopes start picking up and you only try to get the smallest gear combination, but contrary to that, I ended up strong after such a bad position in the beginning of the climb. I felt comfortable all day and the team was superb. It’s better to rider at the front in these races, with so many bumps, crossings… it’s dangerous and you save more energy at the front than in the back. That’s why we were always pushing today. I already said my mind is on Liège this Sunday. It suits me really well and I hope to fight for the win. Rivals? Some riders were at the front on Sunday, some others were today… there are eight or nine names that could well fight for it on Sunday. We’ll see how it goes.”