Spanish RR Championship
Alejandro claims second Spanish champion jersey, seven years after Talavera; Jesús Herrada takes bronze for Movistar Team 1-3. Sensacional break by Imanol Erviti, more than 160km on front
For the sixth time on a row -the last five, in Movistar Team colours-, Eusebio Unzué's squad has dominated the road race of the Spanish Championships, held on Sunday over five laps and 189km in Cáceres, on roads exposed to winds and including a slight uphill sprint, where Alejandro Valverde beat Carlos Barbero (CJR) while Jesús Herrada took bronze.
The race in Extremadura was an attacking exhibition by Imanol Erviti. The Pamplona-based rider, who jumped after roughly 15km together with Benito, Sáez (CJR), Lizarralde (MUR), Aitor González (AMP) and Marcos García (LRJ), made a further selection with just over fifty kilometer to go together with García and even went solo as the Caja Rural train approached from behind.
Imanol's excellent effort, chased down with 10km to go, and a late move by Gorka Izagirre together with Bilbao (CJR), eventually left room to a group sprint, where Valverde claimed the Movistar Team's 27th victory of the 2015 season and showed his usual impressive form leading up to the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “I leave Cáceres with many good memories: it's been a pleasant three days here, calm and relaxed… and I was able to get this victory! I don't ride bad with strong heat, but it was a really extreme race today, just like when I won in Talavera. The Dauphiné was intense, difficult, but it left me really good form and we could profit from it today. The squad kept the race really under control and with every kilometer passing, it was clearer that we would finish with a bunch sprint. It was only a matter of giving it all at the appropriate time and contest the win.
"At the final meters, more than Jesús's position, I was concerned about Barbero's. It's really difficult to look behind: you can only look for the finish, the rivals are strong, and even though I gave a look to my back, searching for my team-mate, I had to really give it all to secure the win. It was a finish that really suited me and I could use my top speed. Now it's time to go to the Tour: I think we're in really good form.”