Valverde believes he can podium at both Tour de France and Vuelta a España
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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Valverde believes he can podium at both Tour de France and Vuelta a España

by VeloNation Press at 1:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Vuelta a España
 
The 2009 Vuelta champion satisfied with route unveiled today: “There are difficulties with eight summit finishes”

Alejandro ValverdeGiving a thumbs up to the route unveiled today by the Vuelta a España organisers, Alejandro Valverde has said that the nature of the course suits his characteristics and that he consequently believes it is realistic for him to chase a top three finish in both the Tour de France and Vuelta this year.

“I see myself with options of making the podium in both,” he said at the launch, according to Marca. “I have won the Vuelta, but not the Tour. Last year I could have been near the podium but I was unlucky. This year I can have it in the legs.”

Valverde finished third overall in the 2013 Vuelta a España, completing the podium behind Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

He was eighth overall in the Tour, but lost almost nine minutes to the race winner Chris Froome (Sky) and the other classification riders on stage thirteen. He punctured at a bad time then and never got back to the main bunch, thus losing his chance.

Valverde’s belief that he can finish top three in both races stems from two things; firstly, the good sensations that he experienced in last year’s Tour, despite that mishap. Secondly, the strong ride he put in at the Spanish race after going deep in France.

“My previous experience went well,” he said. “The Tour took a lot, but if you rest you can be in good condition to fight for the podium.”

As regards the nature of the route as unveiled today, he gives it a thumbs up. “I like this course. It is similar to last year, with the difference that ends in Santiago with a time trial. I do not consider it more demanding, but there are difficulties, with eight summit finishes and a difficult high altitude stage, especially at the end. Although there are no Pyrenees, there are enough climbs to break up to the race.”

As regards the final ten kilometre time trial, he believes it is too short to have a real impact. “Nothing will happen, there will be differences then and everything will be decided.”

Valverde will share leadership of the Movistar team this year with Nairo Quintana. While the Colombian finished second overall in the 2013 Tour, going close to yellow in his first attempt, Valverde still believes there is room for him to have his own personal ambitions.

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