Valverde closing in on podium place in Vuelta
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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Valverde closing in on podium place in Vuelta

by VeloNation Press at 10:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Spaniard accepts current hierarchy of form

Alejandro ValverdeEnding yesterday fourth overall but on exactly the same time as third-place rider Chris Froome, Alejandro Valverde started today’s stage increasingly confident in his abilities.

There’s still a week of tough racing to go but he’s optimistic about being on the podium next Sunday.

“The rivals aren’t weak: Contador seems to have good legs, Purito is unstoppable, the three of us are just inside the same thirteen seconds,” he said. “I have to be happy with that. I think that Alberto, Purito and I are the three strongest riders for the overall classification and I hope to keep this level until the end of the Vuelta.”

Froome has said that he is finding the race harder than the Tour, but is uncertain if he has lost form or if he’s just finding it tougher as the other riders are so punchy. One thing is clear, though: he'll need to rebound somewhat if he is to retain his third overall.

He and Valverde are currently one minute 41 away from Joaquim Rodriguez’s red jersey, and one minute 19 behind Alberto Contador.

Yesterday both showed they were stronger than Valverde; he’s fine with that, appearing to concede that they are likely to be ahead of him in a week.

“For now, with two stage wins and three third places, I’d sign for a spot on the final podium in Madrid,” he said.

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