Abu Dhabi Tour (st. 3)
Spaniard 7th after early attack through Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi Tour's mountain-top finish, to take Movistar up to teams' lead; all set to close Blues' fifth season at the Yas Marina F1 circuit on Sunday
The 2015 season for Alejandro Valverde came close to its end on Saturday in the way it usually does: on the front of the bunch. The Spanish champion from the Movistar Team took yet another top-ten finish -the 46th of the year- atop Jebel Hafeet, a 10.8km climb at 6.6% average crowning stage three of the Abu Dhabi Tour, after good attitude from both the Murcia-based rider and the Blues to fight for the last mountain-top finish of their 2015 season, which was ultimately won by Esteban Chaves (OGE) in front of Wout Poels (SKY).
Juanjo Lobato's work in favour of his team leader, keeping the pace high and controlling the two-man break early in the stage, as second by an acceleration by Valverde, soon caught by Astana, which broke the race up with another move by Nibali with 5km to go. However, the Italian was unable to follow the attack by Chaves, while Alejandro, on his own pace after being dropped, caught him to finish in 7th spot at 1'17". 'Bala' is also seventh overall, with Giovanni Visconti now sitting in 10th after just missing out on a top-ten finish.
A 110km stage in the Yas Marina F1 circuit will close the fifth season under Telefónica's sponsorship for Eusebio Unzué's squad, with the UCI Cycling Gala to be held two hours after the end of the race. Movistar is now also in the lead of the teams' classification, almost ensuring a podium presence in their final competitino of the year.