Spanish Grand Tour comes to its end in Madrid
Telefónica-backed squad – into fight for overall podium until final mountain stage – steps onto Cibeles’ podium as winners of team GC for tenth time in their trajectory, conquer Points jersey + 2 stage wins with perennial reference Alejandro Valverde (5th).
Briton Simon Yates (MTS) claimed overall honours at the 73rd edition of the Vuelta a España on Sunday after successfully covering the final twelve laps in Madrid’s Cibeles circuit (100 km). Elia Viviani (QST) claimed the win at the inevitable bunch sprint taking down the curtains of a race where Movistar Team, always courageous and a big race protagonist, savoured glory twice and only cracked at the hellish two final competitive stages in Andorra.
Alejandro Valverde, solid and ever-dependable as many other times in his nearly two-decade career, ended up on the verge of the final GC podium -he took 5th place- after holding a provisional podium finish for 14 of the race’s 21 stages. His commitment, as well as Nairo Quintana’s -8th overall, supporting ‘Bala’ with an admirable spirit at the decisive stages after moments of struggling in Asturias and Bizkaia-, weren’t in vain, as Alejandro stepped onto the podium as winner of the Points classification -a record-tying fourth victory, equalling Sean Kelly and Laurent Jalabert- después de sus dos triunfos de etapa (11 en la Vuelta desde 2003).
The efforts and quality of Carapaz, Bennati, Erviti, Amador, Oliveira and Anacona also helped their leaders stay into the fight for overall success until the final day, and brought them an added prize: the honour of visiting the podium as winners of the Team prize -their 10th time in the Movistar Team’s 39 appearances in La Vuelta, a new record, tied with the legendary KAS squad-, having showed to undoubtedly be the best squad in the race.
Eusebio Unzué’s OVERVIEW:
“I’m so proud of the work the whole team has done, at all times, during the past three weeks. They’ve been impeccable, always conscious about what our responsibilities with this race were. All eight riders have offered very satisfactory performances, and in specific cases, such as Richard Carapaz, they’ve been able to develop that spectacular work at the final selections of the toughest mountain stages. It’s also true that in cycling, there are many times when there isn’t a correlation between the efforts you take and the results you obtain. In our case, we had to put that ‘pressure’ on our shoulders because we were the main local team and got to the start line with two big names in Alejandro and Nairo. We’ve got to win this race, showing great commitment, initiative wherever we felt it was needed, or sometimes leading the bunch because the race situation required us to do so.
“Alejandro’s two stage victories were magnificent, even excellent if you consider the quality of the names finishing behind him. But I’ve got to thank him even more because he was able to keep us excited until the very end, with a strong chance to win La Vuelta or fight for the overall podium until the very finale. In the end, all three podium finishers really deserved to be up there: this race has been a sort of generational handover, led by Simon Yates, with a great breakthrough from Enric Mas and the confirmation of Miguel Ángel López’s quality. In Nairo’s case, he took big efforts to go for that red jersey and final victory into the first two weeks of racing, but as soon as he realised he wasn’t in a poition to win outright and we still stood that chance of success with Alejandro, he showed great attitude and disposition to put himself at Alejandro’s service, as seen on Friday and most notably yesterday. It’s sad for us that all that work from him wasn’t enough to keep Alejandro on the podium, but I think his quality as a leader on the road, putting himself into a domestique position, is even more beyond doubt after this La Vuelta. Finally, I think that today’s team victory is a reward to the good work and implication of the whole group throughout the race, something to be happy about.”
- 01 Elia Viviani Quick Step 2h21'28"
- 02 Peter Sagan Bora-Hansgrohe "
- 03 Giacomo Nizzolo Trek-Segafredo "
- 24 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team "
- 44 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team "
- 58 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team "
- 68 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team "
- 82 Winner Anacona Movistar Team "
- 86 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team "
- 89 Andrey Amador Movistar Team "
- 116 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team +37"
- 01 Simon Yates Mitchelton-Scott 82h05'58"
- 02 Enric Mas Quick Step +1'46"
- 03 Miguel Ángel López Astana Pro Team +2'04"
- 05 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +4'28"
- 08 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team +6'51"
- 18 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team +39'53"
- 69 Winner Anacona Movistar Team +2h25'25"
- 71 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team +2h30'07"
- 92 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +3h10'45"
- 93 Andrey Amador Movistar Team +3h10'46"
- 133 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +4h45'32"