UAE Tour (finale)
World Champion from Movistar Team finishes 2nd overall at Emirati race, behind Primoz Roglic (TJV); seven-day effort sees Spanish allrounder claim first victory in rainbow jersey atop Jebel Hafeet.
Slovenian Primoz Roglic (TJV) took the overall victory at the maiden edition of the UAE Tour on Saturday after safely covering the fast-paced 145km stage seven around Dubai. Sam Bennett (BOH) took the win at the inevitable bunch sprint taking down the curtain of a race where Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) was finally able to achieve success after an opening month full of consistency, characteristic from the UCI world’s number one.
Despite two incidents in form of crashes on Wednesday -just 6km from Hatta’s finish, where he took 8th place– and Friday -a pile-up just after the start in Ajman, en route to the Jebel Jais climb, where he finished in 5th– and the fever suffered in the last few hours, Valverde was able to claim his first victory in the rainbow jersey with a magnificent action towards Jebel Hafeet -his second consecutive success at the top, after 2018– and step onto Saturday’s GC podium in 2nd place, alongside Roglic and young Frenchman David Gaudu (GFC).
It’s Valverde’s third GC podium finish this season, having already claimed runner-up results at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and his beloved Vuelta a Murcia. Another good performance, in which he was very well supported during the whole seven days of racing by Mas, Sütterlin, Castrillo, Amador, Oliveira and Fernández.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde:
“The most important thing today, after all the efforts we made and the difficulties we endured during the week, was simply getting to the finish in one piece. My stage victory on Tuesday and the second place overall are very decent results, I think, really important to continue to work in the upcoming weeks and and hopefully get to my best form. On the one hand, I want to thank all of my team-mates’ work for the last seven days, because they never let me down and supported me wherever I needed to; on the other, I must congratulate Roglic, because he was the strongest on course and had a very solid team by his side. The future for me? Now it’s time to think about the Volta a Catalunya. Hopefully I can keep the results coming and even make it again onto the podium, as in all other stageraces this year!“