Valverde already close to win
30 January 2015

Trofeo Andratx-Mirador d'Es Colomer

2nd place for Movistar Team leader atop Formentor climb on Challenge Mallorca day two, only beaten by Cummings (MTN). Intxausti takes 6th, Visconti 8th

Alejandro Valverde showed his usual constance and fighting spirit in the first real victory chance of the 2015 season. The Movistar Team rider finished today in 2nd place atop the Mirador d’Es Colomer, end of the 149km trophy two of the Mallorca Challenge, only beaten by Briton Stephen Cummings (MTN), who anticipated the Spaniard’s decisive attack.

The telephone squad’s second podium on Balearic soil was proceeded by intense work from start to finish, controlling the day’s original break with their full roster and reaching the foot of the last climb with barely 60 riders into the front group. The lack of individual success meant the lads directed by Chente García Acosta and José Luis Laguía had to stay content with the teams’ victory for the day, thanks to good performances by Intxausti (6th) and Visconti (8th.)

I’m more or less happy with today’s result, but also a bit sad for my team-mates, who spent the whole day working extraordinarily,” conceded Valverde after the podium ceremony. “From the ten men on the break, there were a couple of strong ones who put on an impressive pace, and the finale was really fast. Still, the team rode phenomenally, and we were able to chase down the three survivors [Van Baarle, Van Zyl and Gonçalves] into the last climb. There were some attacks, which Beñat covered really attentive, and then Cummings jumped away really strong. I was looking for my launching distance, and actually I was able to reach him down over the line, but it might have been a bit too late. We must congratulate Stephen because he proved to be on top form today.

“It’s sort of a bitter taste because I couldn’t reward the team with a victory, but taking 2nd into the second day of racing this season is good. Tomorrow’s trophy will also be hard; rivals won’t make it any easy for us, but our squad is showing courage and as well José Joaquín as myself will try to contest the win. I also want to send all my support and a big hug, from myself especially but also on behalf of the whole team, to Pascale [Schyns, former team press officer], who is going through bad times. We hope her to recover as soon as possible and we’ll be supporting her all the way, wherever she needs us.”

Saturday will bring the hardest racing in this year's Challenge with the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (165.7km), over the climbs of Claret (Cat-4), Galilea (Cat-3), des Grau (Cat-4), Coll d'Honor (Cat-2), Sa Batalla  (Cat-2) and Puig Major  (Cat-2) before the decisive Coll d'En Bleda (Cat-2) and the final slope in Deià. Gadret, Jesús Herrada, Moreno, Rojas, Sutherland, Valverde, Ventoso and Visconti will be the eight Movistar Team riders present.