King Valverde is back in business
31 January 2015

Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana

One-man-show from Spanish superstar after huge Movistar teamwork at Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana: 120km on the breakaway, 50 of them on the attack to crown a sensational solo, score Blues' 3rd win of 2015

The best reward for an outstanding performance from the Movistar Team during the whole 2015 Challenge Mallorca came from the legs of last year’s UCI world number one. Alejandro Valverde made the Balearic fans enjoy with one of the most impressive breakaways in his career, one that kept him on the front for 120 of the 165km in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, the hardest in this year’s event with seven categorized climbs.

Ventoso, Jesús Herrada and Javi Moreno joined Valverde into an early move almost 30 riders strong into the first climbs. With its gap up to three minutes, the later pace by Sky to chase down behind caused a split into the attempt with about 50km, only eleven ahead including Alejandro as well as loyal domestique Herrada. Finally, into the ramps of the Coll de Sa Batalla (Cat-2), Valverde dropped his rivals one by one until being left along with Kudus (MTN) at the Puig Major (Cat-2). The Erithrean was left behind into the subsequent downhill as Valverde started a solo ride towards the finish, raising his arms victorious for the first time in 2015 -Movistar Team’s third, just 13 days after their season debut-. Wellens (LTS) came at 1’23” in 2nd, Konig (SKY) was 3rd with a 1’33” loss and the Spaniard’s team-mate José Joaquín Rojas crossed the line in 4th, with Giovanni Visconti in 6th at nearly three minutes.

It rsquo;s Valverde’s 85th victory in his pro career, having obtained any sort of success in 13 of his 14 seasons. The Murcia-based rider won’t take the start tomorrow in the Trofeo Playa de Palma, the closing stage of a Challenge which his team-mates will be completing with the sweet taste of finished business despite also feeling sad due to the crash and collarbone injury by Rory Sutherland earlier today.

REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “It was a victory with much team work behind, not only mine but the whole squad’s, as much as yesterday when we didn’t claim the win. Our intention today was avoiding what happened on Friday: always chasing behind because we didn’t react to the moves when we should have done. The start was really fast, on extremely narrow roads and also a bit moist, which started to split the bunch, with several crashes. Once the group got formed, Rory’s injury happened – we were sad to see him leave the race. We had to spend a lot to keep the escape going, but maybe a bit less than yesterday because it’s completely different to be on the break. Sky never reached us back: they were 20” seconds behind when I attacked into that second breakaway and later with the solo move, increasing that gap to 2’40”, I once saw.

“I’m really happy because this win confirms the good feelings I had throughout the race and the intense work we made during the offseason. I don’t consider it to be a revenge at all: Cummings rode fantastically well in the finale yesterday, showing he was really strong, and it was my turn today. It was a team victory, just like yesterday’s effort: everyone who’s raced for the team in the early season did really well, we’ve started it off like in previous years, motivated and strong. We’ve got a great group, all of us get on with each other well and I think that plays a massive role on our wins. I dedicate this victory to them; to Pascale, our former press officer; and my family, especially the kids.

“Now we’re leaving for Dubai. As well there as in Qatar, the goal will be to gain racing form, profit from good weather in the desert and also help Lobato out into the sprints in Dubai. The Tour of Oman’s route suits me better, I like it more – we’ll see how we’re doing by then.”