Alejandro Valverde takes a breakaway victory at the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana
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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Alejandro Valverde takes a breakaway victory at the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana

by Ben Atkins at 1:37 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Mallorca Challenge
 
Movistar captain wins mountainous race after a day of attacks

alejandro valverdeAlejandro Valverde (Movistar) took his first win of the 2013 season in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, between Deià and Lluc, the third race of the Challenge Mallorca, as he sprinted at the head of a four-man break. The 32-year-old Spanish rider outsprinted Colombian Sergio Henao (Team Sky), with Robert Gesink (Blanco) beating Valverde’s Portuguese teammate Rui Costa in the race for third.

The 152.9km race, across the mountains of the northern coastal region of the Balearic island, was subject to constant breakaways; the remaining four riders across the top of the 1st category Puig Major, with 19km to go, stayed away to finish 51 seconds ahead of the peloton, which was led home by Team Sky sprinter Ben Swift.

"I knew I was strong, but I didn't quite know how my reactions were going to be as I'm taking things more cautiously this season,” said Valverde after the race. “I knew I had ended the 2012 season in really good shape, and came here with good motivation, and it's true that once you're up-front, you always try to win. When you're calm, when your sensations while training are good from the very start and the team is doing well, things go smoothly.

“I want to thank all my team-mates, the people that are always supporting me and Movistar, for their continued help so this project carries on,” he continued. “We started the Sóller descent [with 43km to go - ed] in good position, the group split and since we got close to the break, we kept pushing. I always had good sensations during the stage.

“When it was just me and Rui with Henao and Gesink into the climb, it was a matter of the two of us attacking to drop Henao, but he was really strong and responded well, so we waited for the sprint. Rui worked really well and we could win. Taking a victory so early in the season is always better, because it gives confidence to you as well as to the squad.”

A group containing Enrique Sanz (Movistar), Kristoff Vandewalle (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Bram Tankink (Blanco), Wesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEdge), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha), Luca Dodi (Lampre-ISD), Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis), Ruben Fernández (Caja Rural) and Brennan Townshed (Madison-Genesis) escaped almost immediately. The break managed to open up a lead of almost four minutes on the course’s jagged profile, but this began to come down as the race approached the 2nd category Coll de Sóller.

The group split on the climb, as several attacks broke clear of the peloton behind them - including one from Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) - and, as the final climb to Puig Major approached, Valverde, Henao, Gesink and Costa bridged across and left the rest behind.

Despite several attacks from within the group, no one was able to get away, and the race ended in a four-way sprint with Valverde the fastest.

Result Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
2. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling
4. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar Team
5. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky @ 51s
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
7. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
9. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Ian Bibby (GBr) Madison-Genesis

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