Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (st. 1)
Portuguese specialist from Movistar Team continues to show strength against the clock, good form after last Saturday’s Mallorca top-ten finish; Alejandro concedes only 9″ to top GC contender Izagirre (AST) in first time trial this season.
Norwegian ace Edvald Boasson Hagen (DDD) took victory on Wednesday’s opening, mixed-terrain ITT in the 2019 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the 10.2km route in and around Orihuela featuring nine kilometers of long straights before the final 700m uphill -with slopes up to 13%- just outside this small city between Alicante and Murcia.
The Movistar Team had an overall solid performance, with three of its riders -the last three to start- within the day’s top 15. Two Blues with an early first peak this season, Nelson Oliveira and Jürgen Roelandts, joined Alejandro Valverde near the top of the standings: while the Belgian was 15th (+23″), the Portuguese took a MOV-best 6th spot, just off 11″ the winner. Meanwhile, Valverde, today wearing his regular, blue Movistar Team kit, completed a very consistent effort, ninth through the intermediate check (+7″) and 8th over the line, 14″ behind the race’s first yellow jersey. Only three climbers / punchy finishers were better today: Ion Izagirre (AST), 2nd at the finish, 9″ faster; Dylan Teuns (TBM), 6″ ahead; and Pello Bilbao (AST), just 1″ quicker than the road World Champion.
With no bonuses available at either intermediate sprints or finishes, it will only be down to splits in the next few days to clarity a GC which shouldn’t suffer many chances on the way to Alicante, Thursday (166km), the hilly route in the interior of this coastal province ending up with a long descent after the Carrasqueta (Cat-3), crested more than 40km from the end.
SHORT REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “My aim for the day was to try and stay near or inside the top 15, so this result is OK, quite good. I’m close to the top contenders and quite satisfied with today’s effort. Let’s go day-by-day and see what happens this week.”