Vuelta a España (st. 2)
Valverde takes top spot in Vuelta GC from Castroviejo after finishing as best Movistar Team rider at San Fernando’s sprint -dominated by Bouhanni (FDJ)-
PICTURES | Vuelta a España gallery
It was a result of his attention during the finale of stage two in the Vuelta a España -174km from Algeciras to San Fernando, on windy roads that forced the riders to stay focused-, yet Alejandro Valverde came to lead the Spanish grandtour almost by chance, after his team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo wore the jersey all day following Saturday’s win. It was a day with no incidents for the Movistar Team riders, which wore all four jerseys for classification leaders -the Bala was in Points’ green, as Amador donned the blue polka-dot KOM jumper and Erviti wore the white of the Combination standings- and protected their GC contenders’ chances, with Herrada pulling at the front to pursuit the day’s break while Erviti, Malori and Izagirre kept them safe against the wind.
Valverde’s 21st place across the finish, out of any stress in the sprinters’ fight for win -Bouhanni (FDJ) came victorious-, was enough for the Spaniard to wear the Vuelta leading jersey for the 24th time in his career and take some good motivation in the eve of the first uphill finish in the race in Arcos, at the end of a 198km parcours from Cádiz including four Cat-3 climbs. Quintana, Amador, Castroviejo, Erviti and Izagirre stay equal to Alejandro, in positions two to six of the GC.
REACTION | Alejandro Valverde: “To be honest, it wasn’t on the plan that I took the leader’s jersey, but the finish was really nervous and difficult and we had to ride up-front, trying not to lose any time into splits or crashes. I hadn’t even realized I had become the GC leader: I had to come back from the team bus, because I had already left for it. It’s always nice to take the leader’s jersey and I’m happy about this, but I would be even more should any other team-mate don it. It’s great to be ahead of other rivals, but this is not really important for the Vuelta’s final outcome. We will see how everything goes, and if it’s reasonable for us to fight and keep it. There’s quite a decent climb tomorrow, almost 1.5km, and we will have to stay attentive, but it’s just the same as today: you can never relax, otherwise you might lose time.”