Valverde debuts in 8th place
29 January 2016

Challenge: Trofeo Pollença - Andratx

Double top-ten finishes for Movistar Team -Visconti was 10th- at Andratx's uphill finish, end of Challenge Mallorca day two. Giovanni, Arcas, Dayer, Gorka all immersed on several breaks

After quite a calm first day for the Movistar Team in the plains between Felanitx and Porreres, the riders directed by 'Chente' and Laguía at the Challenge Mallorca took very short to show up at the front, as soon as the first elevations came. And one of them was notably present: Alejandro Valverde.

The 2015 UCI World no. 1 was the top finisher for the telephone squad (8th) in his season debut at the 153km Trofeo Pollença – Andratx on Friday, a fast race (over 42kph average) with three rated climbs: Femenies (Cat.2), Grau and Galilea -both Cat.3-. The first ascent saw a huge, 35-rider breakaway forming up, with debutant Jorge Arcas and Giovanni Visconti protecting the Blues' interest. The gap, never allowed more than 2'30", was closed by Lotto-Soudal, which launched young hopeful Tiesj Benoot ahead in the following côtes as Dayer Quintana, back after winning San Luis, and Gorka Izagirre also tried to make the front.

Gorka ultimately found himself into a seven-man group in pursuit of solo leader Gianluca Brambilla (EQS). The counter was chased down while the Italian won with a short margin over the first peloton, led by Kwiatkowski (SKY, 2nd) and Stybar (EQS, 3rd). Into it, Valverde and Visconti (10th) made the first sheet of results, with José Herrada also consistent in 15th spot; Arcas, in 24th; and Dayer Quintana, 25th.

Action in Mallorca will resume with Saturday's demanding Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana: 144km with no less than seven categorized ascents and another uphill finish in Deià, scene for Valverde's first win of his extraordinary 2015 season. Erviti, José Herrada, the two Izagirre brothers, Javi Moreno, Dayer Quintana and Visconti will join 'Bala' at the Queen stage in the Balearic islands.