Tour de Romandie (st. 4)
Portuguese rider finished 3rd on Queen stage in the Swiss race, is set to defend the same overall result he got in 2012 during Sunday’s Geneva ITT; Valverde grabs 4th on stage, is now 5 seconds behind his team-mate
They weren’t able to follow the powerful duo of race leader Chris Froome (SKY) and Slovenian Simon Spilak (KAT) under cold and rain, but still Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde did a fine effort against the top favourites of the 2013 Tour de Romandie, which held its Queen stage on Saturday over 184km from Marly to Les Diablerets, whose last climb -La Croix (Cat. 1)- was replaced by Le Sepey (Cat. 1) due to infamous weather conditions at the top forecast for the evening.
Well protected by all their team-mates, the Movistar Team duo kept the front of the race until the final 1.5km of climbing, when the yellow jersey launched a strong attack that was boosted by the lack of cooperation behind, with Valverde taking efforts on his own to keep the race alive. Unfortunately, the second group behind Spilak, the day’s winner, and Froome lost 1.03, enough for the GC to be effectively closed on its first two places, but still in the fight behind for Valverde and Costa, who gained four bonus seconds at the finish.
Costa’s third place today put him into the provisional GC podium, with no less than eleven man in a minute’s difference and Alejandro Valverde in 6th -behind Kiserlovski (RLT) y Pinot (FDJ)- just 5 seconds after his team-mate. That will be the scene for a hectic fight tomorrow over the flat, 19-kilometer ITT cours in Geneva, where Rui aspires to equal the brilliant result achieved in 2012, 3rd after Wiggins (SKY) and Talansky (GRS).