Valverde missing fortune, legs from previous editions at 2016 Strade Bianche, after excellent work from his two team-mates and whole Movistar Team in Tuscany
The first big classic of the 2016 season for the Movistar Team left lots of teamwork and less of a prize than expected and deserved for the Blues. Alejandro Valverde could only take the day's 10th place at Strade Bianche, the race of the white gravel roads with nine 'sterrato' sections over the 176km course in Siena, Tuscany, which Fabian Cancellara (TFS) won at Piazza del Campo for the third time in his career.
The efforts by the group directed by José Luis Jaimerena started right after the early break was established, continued with Ventoso's assistance to Valverde with his bike after misfortune -'Bala' had to ride more than 30km with Fran's bike, to ensure he didn't lose any time-, and reached its summit when a brandnew, five-rider move including Grivko (AST), Monfort (LTS) and day's hero Brambilla (EQS) -the Italian led the race until the final slope- went away with 50km left. Andrey Amador, superb into the pursuit, and Giovanni Visconti, always up and down to help out his team-mates, protected Valverde in the finale. However, the Spaniard lacked energy to follow the decisive split formed by Cancellara, Sagan (TNK) and Stybar (EQS) into the 'segmento' of Colle Pinzuto (18km from the finish).
Insistence and attacks from the Murcia-based rider later on, already into the run in towards Siena, didn't pay off as the 2015 UCI World No. 1 had to stay content with his seventh top-ten finish of the season (11 days of racing). Valverde will be back on Wednesday for Tirreno-Adriatico, as his team-mates, joined by Sutherland and Pedrero, tackle the GP Larciano tomorrow.