Tour de France (st. 19)
Rainy, chaotic day 19 in the Tour -including crash with no major consequences for Intxausti- leads Alejandro Valverde into Saturday TT, where his final result in the 2014 Grande Boucle will be decided
PICTURES | 2014 Tour de France gallery
One of the most dreadful Tours in recent years when it comes to weather conditions, as well as intense in its racing pace, left again no room to relax in the day prior to the long-awaited TT -54 kilometers finishing at Périgueux- which will decide the overall podium. Alejandro Valverde and his seven Movistar team-mates still on course covered with attention and no serious problems the flat route, yet under thunderstorms, narrow roads and small climbs, leading to Bergerac (209km). Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas (GRS) profited from a late attack up Monbazillac (Cat-4) to win solo.
The only real fright of the day for the telephone squad, apart from several punctures that affected the whole bunch, was crash with 2.5km to go, which held off John Gadret and caught Beñat Intxausti. The Basque climber suffered some bruises in his right knee, yet was perfectly able to cross the finish. Valverde, Gadret and Jesús Herrada will do a final recon by car this evening -Alejandro already tested the course on his bike back in June- to check all details of a TT where Valverde (4th) will try to get back from a 15-second deficit to Thibaut Pinot (FDJ, 2nd), with Jean-Christophe Péraud (ALM, 3º) just 2″ ahead of the Spaniard.
REACTION | Alejandro Valverde: “Everyone could see it on TV and can imagine how it’s been like today, no real rest. It was 200k under full rain; even though it’s true it wasn’t really could out there, spending so much time on the bike getting drenched in rain, in stressful, dangerous roads – it makes you reach the finish dead tired. Still, we stayed up-front all day and got through the crash well.
I already know tomorrow’s time trial. I trained here in June and we’ll check it again this evening to remember all details before the racing. It’s a demanding one: 54km, with small slopes – anything could happen. You can’t get crazy about GC time gaps on the bikes: you just give your 100%, go flat out… just like that. I’m performing well in TT’s this season, I became Spanish champion last month, and I think I can do well. I have good legs and would like to contest both third and second places. I might as well stay with what I have right now at the end, but I’m confident: I think I can do well.”