Valverde, Rodriguez go close to stage victory, but can’t get Horner back
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Valverde, Rodriguez go close to stage victory, but can’t get Horner back

by VeloNation Press at 4:37 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Last year’s podium finishers in good early form

Alejandro ValverdeThe riders who finished second and third overall in last year’s Vuelta a España, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez, showed they are in the kind of shape to again fight for victory in this year’s race with strong performances on stage three.

The duo finished three seconds behind solo winner Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard), stalling when he jumped with a kilometre to go and then being unable to get him back by the line.

“The stage ended up being really hard. It's sad I missed out on the victory because I had the legs and the finish suited me well,” said Valverde afterwards. “Actually, we didn't mean to contest it, but the race development forces you to get up front - there's Purito, who also came in third. You can't sit up, and it's also important to get some bonus seconds.”

Those bonuses put Valverde up to sixth overall, 24 seconds behind the new race leader Horner.

The Spaniard thanked his team afterwards, saying that the Movistar riders performed well to keep him well positioned on what was a difficult day because of the winds. They also helped him to stay out of trouble on dangerous sections of the course, including the long bridge with traffic cones in the centre.

“This Vuelta will be really long and we must remain going day by day, but I'm feeling strong at the moment,” he said.

Rodriguez is also going well and finished just behind Valverde in the sprint to the line. “When I attacked I thought I could catch Horner,” the Katusha rider said. “But to tell the truth he did a great job in the last kilometre.

“I did my best anyway, in order to take the second position because the time bonuses can make the difference. However Valverde was faster than me.”

He is now eighteenth overall, 56 seconds back, and starting to move up the general classification. Thus far, he’s happy with his sensations. “I’m very satisfied with my shape, considering it’s been one month that I haven’t taken part in a race, since the end of the Tour de France.”


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