Vuelta a España (st. 7)
Alejandro Valverde collects third leader jersey in Vuelta a España after lumpy, dangerous ride to Alcaudete, which both Movistar Team solved with no problems. De Marchi (CAN) wins from day’s break
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There are no easy days in a three-week stagerace and neither enjoys them the Movistar Team in this year’s Vuelta a España, having led the race for already three of the six road stages completed in Andalusia. Alejandro Valverde and his team-mates had to keep attention for the whole 169km of day seven, from Alhendín to Alcaudete, full of ups and downs not exempt from stressful moments, such as a crash in the beginning of the stage which sent three riders home and also affected GC contenders like Briton Chris Froome (SKY).
A strong break, with four riders including eventual winner Alessandro De Marchi (CAN), forced squads intered on the stage win, such as Lampre, Trek or Sky, to push at the front of the bunch, discharging the Movistar Team to do so, as Herrada, Amador, Erviti, Malori or Castroviejo always protected Valverde and Quintana. The two Blues are still 15″ away on places one and two of the Vuelta’s overall before Saturday’s stage eight, featuring more-than-likely crosswinds in the last third of the 207km (race’s longest) from Baeza to Albacete.
REACTION | Alejandro Valverde: “These are demanding roads, plus the pace was really fast today. Though it was less hot than the two previous stages, the sun still burnt and made the day considerably hard. Fortunately, we didn’t have any troubles, but we had to stay focused because, as everyone could see, there were many crashes and it was a dangerous one.
“We were told Froome had crashed – we were going after riders on the attack at the front and we never pushed at 100% nor trying to get him dropped. It was a crash, you have to respect that. The Albacete roads on tomorrow’s stage are always difficult due to the wind, and we will have to keep full attention, though everything is easier while in the lead. It’s a bigger effort, to spend the whole day up-front, but this jersey makes it less hard.”