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Valverde’s Abu Dhabi win, in pictures

26 February 2018
Imagen de la noticia ‛Valverde’s Abu Dhabi win, in pictures’

Galería de la ronda emiratí

Movistar Team leader claims first WorldTour stagerace win of his 2018 season after solid, focused performance from both him and his six Blue team-mates.

One day after Alejandro Valverde’s (Movistar Team) conquest of the 2018 Abu Dhabi Tour, we wrap up our race coverage with this big-format gallery including the most significant stills -thanks to phenomenal work from BettiniPhoto.net– of a race always curious to watch and also really exciting, where the Blues performed as they’re expected to do. Enjoy it!

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

A Top Riders’ press conference opened, as usual, the week’s racing. Pictured here: Tom Dumoulin, Elia Viviani, Valverde, Rui Costa -winner of the race overall in 2017-, Mark Cavendish, Rohan Dennis, Fabio Aru and Marcel Kittel.

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Photo: LaPresse

The Movistar Team’s riders enjoyed the day prior to the start with a training ride on closed roads: those of the magnificent Yas Marina Circuit, home of the final race of the Formula One World Championship every month of November.

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Photo: LaPresse

Getting through one of several bridges over the course of Yas Marina, inside which the hotel that has accommodated the Movistar Team during the race was built.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

The Movistar Team for the Abu Dhabi Tour: Bennati, Sütterlin, De la Parte, Valls, Rojas, Valverde and Pedrero -signing on, behind his team-mates-.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Stage one, connecting Madinat Zayed with the Liwa oasis, was way more calm than the ones that would follow.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Valverde and his team-mates covered this opening stage in a calm, relaxed mood.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

This is Germany’s Jasha Sütterlin – a powerhouse you don’t like to find at the front of the bunch when you’re struggling behind!

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Daniele Bennati high-fives some young local fans before the start of stage two.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Despite stage two starting off in the same way stage one unfolded, with a breakaway in front of a calm peloton, the approach to the ports area of Abu Dhabi would bring some surprises…

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Crosswinds showed up and the Movistar Team soon took the reins of the bunch to keep its leader protected. Pictured: Daniele Bennati.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

The peloton broke into three different echelons. Valverde and three of his team-mates -Rojas, Bennati and Sütterlin- were part of the first group; Tom Dumoulin (SUN) and stage one winner and GC leader, Alexander Kristoff (UAD), were dropped back to the second one.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Rojas puts on some turns during stage two, making part of a split which did not reach the finish on the front.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

The Blues’ efforts, through, rewarded Alejandro Valverde with a three-second bonus into the final intermediate sprint, which made the Spaniard jump onto 6th overall.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Stage three saw the Blues putting on another show of consistency at the front of the bunch, even if the bunch sprint was again inevitable.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Sütterlin and Valverde shoot the breeze during stage three.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

The Sheikh Zayed mosque -by the name of the first president of the United Arab Emirates-, with its 115-meter-tall minaret.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

The Blues’ work was flawless during the three opening stages, allowing Alejandro Valverde reaching the ITT unscathed.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Víctor de la Parte goes on a recce of the tremendously fast ITT on Saturday, in the Al Maryah island.

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Photo: Abu Dhabi Sports Council

Antonio Pedrero takes the start of stage four in the Abu Dhabi Tour, where two of his team-mates would seek for a top finish in the time trial…

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Jasha Sütterlin was 17th in the ITT, just over half a minute behind day’s winner Rohan Dennis.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

In turn, Alejandro Valverde completed another brilliant performance, notching up 9th place against some of the world’s best specialists to be eighth overall.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Clouds covered Al Ain at the start of the fifth, final day of racing. Rafa Valls, whose recovery from a serious hip injury in August 2017 seems to go on the right path, showed to be happy about his start to the 2018 season and willing to work hard in that mountain stage.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

As happened into the final stage of the 2017 race in Yas Marina, rain covered the race at some points of Sunday’s racing, which meant Valverde and other riders had to put on some foul weather clothing.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Bennati and Rojas hit the front of the bunch during stage five. The breakaway, which had built a massive, ten-minute advantage in the beginning of the stage, saw its gap shrink to barely 1’30” at the bottom of Jebel Hafeet…

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Just under 7km before the end of the climb, Alejandro Valverde went on the attack, looking for the win.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Valverde was soon responded by a group of favourites including Formolo and Majka (BOH), Niklas Eg (TFS), Wilco Kelderman (SUN) and Miguel Ángel López (AST), who had countered Alejandro’s move to go alone in the lead.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Valverde sought for the moment to accelerate again, finding response this time from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (QST)…

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

… dropped Alaphilippe, chased López down …

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

… and went for the sprint to take his 112th win as a pro cyclist.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

It would end up being 113: the stage victory was accompanied by a brilliant GC success.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

A big hug with his friend and team carer Juan Carlos Escámez, following another victory that crowns a brilliant start to Bala’s 2018 season.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Valverde on the podium as stage winner.

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Photo: BettiniPhoto.net / Movistar Team

Receiving the GC winner’s trophy, a 24kt gold plated piece.

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Photo: Movistar Team

A moment behind the race podium with Valverde and López.