Tour de France (st. 20)
Alejandro Valverde struggles into decisive Tour de France TT in Périgueux, stays in 4th overall before Sunday’s parade through Paris’s Champs-Élysees
PICTURES | 2014 Tour de France gallery
After three long weeks of commitment and fighting spirit, Alejandro Valverde fell just one step short to fulfilling his aspirations of a podium finish in the 2014 Tour de France, which the Spaniard will finish tomorrow -with only the traditional, flat circuit course in the Champs-Élysees on Sunday remaining- in fourth place overall. The Movistar Team leader struggled in the long individual time trial -54km between Bergerac and Périgueux- to find his best pace in the first outing in Spanish national champion stripes, lacking the energy to outclass his rivals -Péraud (ALM) and Pinot (FDJ), 2nd and 3rd after Saturday’s TT showdown- for glory in the Grande Boucle.
Despite good time references offered by Ion Izagirre and Giovanni Visconti, a first check far from the two Frenchmen was a setback for Valverde, who still recovered in the next intermediate points and even bested the duo’s performance in the final run into the finish. However, the 2′ lost to Péraud and 1’16” against Pinot left him into the same 4th spot he was holding after the three Pyrenees stages, where tremendous wear and tear started paying an effect on the telephone squad’s GC contender. The Blues will now head into the Île-de-France on a long transfer before stage 21 departs at 3.15pm on Sunday.
REACTION | Alejandro Valverde: “I’ve tried, but me legs didn’t respond as I wanted them to do. I did more or less know the time gaps on course and also that I was losing the podium. I went as fast as I could, that’s it. The last week did end up paying too much of an impact – the Tour was really difficult regarding the weather conditions, and rain and cold did affect me a bit. We kept fighting, and when you give everything you’ve got, you can’t ask yourself for more. I’m sad I couldn’t bring the fans some joy at the end of this Tour; I would have liked to make it into the podium, too, but on the other hand, I’m happy with this result. Now it’s just about getting through that final stage, think about what we did and plan on the future.”