Alejandro Valverde - quite far from season's main goals - finishes 5th in Deià after the toughest trophy in the Challenge Mallorca. Ion Izagirre, Dayer Quintana - both into the break -, whole block perform well in demanding race
Despite a victory like his extraordinary success in 2015 didn’t come, Alejandro Valverde and the rest of the Movistar Team showed great attitude again on day three of the Challenge Mallorca, the demanding Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, with no less than seven climbs into just 144km.
The Spanish road race champion – still more than three months away from the Giro d’Italia, which will condition most of his preparations tackling the start of this season – was 5th into a selected group’s sprint, 17” behind a superior Fabian Cancellara (TFR). The Swiss superstar escaped into the downhill of the Puig Major (Cat-2), after chasing down a four-rider group belonging to an original, 23-man breakaway, which included two from the Movistar Team: Dayer Quintana and Ion Izagirre.
While the Colombian was neutralized by the field – always under control from Sky and Bora – through the Col de Sa Batalla (Cat-2), the Basque, winner of the Intermediate Sprints classificatoin today, moved ahead and reached the front of the race, following an attack from Louis Vervaeke (LTS). Behind, the Movistar Team riders approached Valverde towards the head, the Spaniard 40” down through the summit of the Puig Major and bridging with the pursuit at the Coll d’En Bleda (Cat-3), as Cancellara was already riding solo towards success. José Herrada also finished into Alejandro's group for 16th place; Gorka Izagirre was 20th.
The 2016 Mallorca Challenge will come to a close on Sunday morning, with the 162km Trofeo Playa de Palma – Palma, where a sprint finish is arguably the only feasible finish.