Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (finale)
World Champion from Movistar Team takes 2nd overall behind Ion Izagirre (AST), gets safe through difficult final stage -including a pile-up into the final kilometer, with Oliveira involved but unscathed- in the streets of Valencia.
In a day not exempt from setbacks yet relieved to be able to seal his task after four days of efforts, Alejandro Valverde passed the baton as overall winner of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to a good friend and former team-mate, Ion Izagirre (AST), at the end of the 88km stage five from Paterna to Valencia’s city council square.
Dylan Groenewegen (TJV) took the win into a bunch sprint altered by a pile-up into the straight prior to the finish, an incident which involved, with no major injuries, Movistar Team rider Nelson Oliveira, who still finished on the verge of the overall top-ten. Valverde was able to avoid the crash and confirm his 2nd place in the GC, 7″ behind the winner, following Saturday’s close call in Alcossebre -8th, 12th, 4th, 2nd and 25th have been his impressive stage finish positions this week-.
#VCV2019 @alejanvalverde felicita a un buen amigo y excompañero, Ion Izagirre (AST). Sensación de alivio para la #BalaArcoíris 🌈 tras salvar esa caída en el último kilómetro. pic.twitter.com/RenI6upFqg
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) February 10, 2019
The World Champion concludes his first 2019 stagerace with a podium finish before heading for the second multi-day event of the season in just five days’ time: his beloved Vuelta a Murcia, one he’s won up to five times during his career, which will start on Friday 15th.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde:
“We won last year and we’re not leaving empty-handed this year, either: finishing in 2nd place, with such a luxury podium, is a good result. It’s been a beautiful race, a very tight one, with a great winner in Ion. He’s a good friend of mine, a team-mate for many years in the Movistar Team as well as a huge source of help in last year’s Innsbruck Worlds. I also remember he crashed at the very same turn I got badly injured in Düsseldorf during the opening time trial of the 2017 Tour de France. It’s a good sign to be here, both of us, recovered and offering Spanish cycling some more joy. In the end, crashes are part of our sport, the element of risk we have to face every day. All in all, I think we gave it a good fight, both in the crucial stages and the overall result – but yesterday’s climb, so explosive, wasn’t the place for me to bridge the gap overall back to Ion, so I knew it was sort of an impossible task to bounce back after the TT. Yates was a well-deserved winner, so I feel happy with the 2nd place in Alcossebre as well as in the GC.”
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport