Clásica San Sebastián
3rd place in Donostia for Movistar Team leader, only seven days before taking on his biggest challenge of the late-season in South America
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) continues to earn well-deserved respect and praise from the Basque fans thanks to his all-year consistency, especially when he comes into the WorldTour’s only one-day event in Spain. The double victor of the Clásica de San Sebastián claimed on Saturday no less than his sixth podium finish in the race, behind solo winner Bauke Mollema (TFS) and faster finisher Tony Gallopin (LTS) at the finish in the Boulevard. The 220km race in Gipuzkoa featured hot temperatures and humid condition which added stress and turned the race into an even more similat test for those riders who will line up in South America on 6 August following the Tour de France.
The riders directed by José Luis Arrieta fulfilled their roles in support of ‘Bala’: Erviti and a great Rory Sutherland controlled the day’s early breakaways from the bang; Gorka Izagirre paid attention to a dangerous, ten-man counter following the first of two climbs of Jaizkibel; and the likes of Castroviejo, Visconti, Rojas or Ion Izagirre (19th) covered the Spaniard’s shoulders en route to the decisive Murgil Bidea. With 9km to go, the attack by Rodríguez (KAT) was only followed by the three podium finishers, as Mollema’s move just after the summit granted him an intelligent success.
Valverde will head to South America on Sunday with excellent form, now sitting in the fifth spot of the WorldTour rankings, as Movistar leads the team classification with already 106 points of advantage over Tinkoff. In turn, the Murcia-based rider’s team-mates will keep pushing on their way to the Vuelta a España.
Alejandro Valverde: “I’m happy with yet another podium. Mollema was really good in that finale; he went ahead before the downhill, and even though we started to cooperate behind, we didn’t got on with each other as we should. Plus, at the sprint, I was full of cramps – when I tried to launch the final acceleration, my legs were hurting too much to continue, and I could only keep Gallopin’s wheel for third. It happened the same to ‘Purito’ – it was a hot race and a very humid one, which happens to be a quite similar scenario to what we’ll find in Brazil. Finishing third here with the top guys keeps my hopes high for Rio. It’s a good route for us on the 6th; we will try to continue this way and hopefully chase a medal for our country.”