Movistar Team comes out fighting in second Pyrenéen stage
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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Movistar Team comes out fighting in second Pyrenéen stage

by Ben Atkins at 6:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Spanish team gets its revenge on Team Sky but fails to get time Froome or win stage

alejandro valverdeHaving been outmanoeuvred by Team Sky at the end of yesterday’s first Pyrenéen stage, Movistar turned the tables today and put the British team under pressure. Aggression on the climbs from the Spanish team had the surprising effect of isolating Maillot Jaune Chris Froome from his strong climbing domestiques and, by the finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, overnight second place Richie Porte had been blown out of overall contention.

Although he took Porte’s second place, Movistar captain Alejandro Valverde was unable to take any time out of Froome, however, and, despite having dominated the stage, Movistar was unable to prevent Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin from riding away to victory.

"It was a really, really hard day,” said Valverde. “Already into the second climb I tried to move and brought Froome behind me. We attempted to liven things up and the Sky team wasn’t at its best. We took Porte out of the fight, a big rival, so even though the best possible finish would have been winning the stage and we couldn't do so, we should not keep thinking about it; we must be happy about the rest.

“The team performed tremendously well and I'm leaving the Pyrenees in 2nd place overall, so the overview after this stage must be positive,” he added. “I want to thank all the crowds cheering for us on the road and everyone supporting us from TV at home; this effort was for them."

Nairo Quintana was the Movistar rider to do most to try to drop Froome on the final climb of the Hourquette d'Ancizan, putting in several powerful attacks on the steep climb, but the British rider managed to respond to every one. The 23-year-old Colombian - riding his debut Tour - held on to his own lead in the young riders’ white jersey classification, however, and is buoyed by the performance of the Movistar team against a Sky team previously thought invincible.

"It was a beautiful stage and quite a good result for us,” he said. “We proved all the people we have an excellent squad, with all riders at a very strong level, ready to help myself as well as Rui [Costa] and Alejandro. We all put our effort at the team's service, and that made us reaching the finish with three riders into the front group, losing no time, which was the main goal.

“We showed the world Sky also has weaknesses, but Froome is really strong and it's difficult to hurt him,” he added. “Still we're taking some energy from him, making him work and suffer in view of the next stages. There are still many strong rivals in front of us, which we will have to fight against in the remainder of the race. For the time being, getting over this week with the white jersey is quite good and I'm really happy to wear it. The first rest day comes tomorrow and we'll try to profit from it; getting on a short ride with the team-mates, talking about anything but the race to get rid of our nerves."

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