Valverde judges l’Angliru effort perfectly to secure Vuelta podium spot
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Valverde judges l’Angliru effort perfectly to secure Vuelta podium spot

by VeloNation Press at 4:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
2012 runner up will net third this time round, turns attention to worlds road race

Alejandro ValverdePacing well to recover from difficulty early on in the ascent of l’Angliru, Alejandro Valverde fought off a challenge to his podium spot from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and remained third overall in the Vuelta today.

Valverde had started the stage just 51 seconds ahead of his compatriot and looked to be in big danger of losing his third place when he was unable to maintain the pace after Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked with seven kilometres left. The Movistar rider initially tracked race leader Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) and Rodriguez when they chased the Italian, but then cracked.

He slipped backwards and appeared to be in big trouble, but when Horner and Rodriguez caught Nibali several minutes later, a slight lull in the pace was enough for him to return.

Nibali and Horner continued their battle closer to the summit, dropping both Rodriguez and Valverde. The latter was then able to shake off his rival, who cracked badly and lost 51 seconds by the line.

“I gave everything that I had and I'm satisfied with myself,” said Valverde afterwards, accepting his third overall. He was second to Alberto Contador (Saxo Tinkoff) last year and had hoped to hit the top spot on the podium, but instead went back one step.

“We must congratulate Horner after such a great effort - we saw he was the strongest in the race once again, he was phenomenal. Nibali was great, too - he was brave and made us struggle a lot. I think all four main contenders did really well.”

The key for Valverde was not panicking when he was dropped, pacing himself on the climb and being able to go deeper than Rodriguez near the finish.

“I knew I'd be climbing well on my pace, but I needed one of my rivals to crack in order to progress in the overall. That didn't happen and that's why I'm happy with this third place,” he said. “It's yet another podium overall in the Vuelta a España, and despite not winning a stage, we were always at the front and we secured the points jersey.”

Valverde credited his team with helping him achieve the result, and for showing consistency during the race.

Now he’s turning his thoughts towards the world road race championships, where he hopes to fight for the rainbow jersey. “Let's hope this is a good step to making something beautiful at the Firenze Worlds in two weeks' time.”


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