Valverde takes the Tour Mediterranean, Masciarelli wins last stage
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valverde takes the Tour Mediterranean, Masciarelli wins last stage

by Bjorn Haake at 10:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

Alejandro Valverde won the 2010 Tour Mediterranean thanks to a second place in the final stage that traditionally ends on the Mont Faron climb outside Toulon. The stage was won by Francesco Masciarelli with a solo move. A late attack by Alexander Vinokourov looked promising, but the Kazakh rider cracked on the steep, final climb.

Valverde was pleased to have obtained the first victory of the season so early. "I am dedicating this win to Pablo, my son who was recently born."

Valverde likes the warm weather, so this week provided some obstacles for the Spaniard. "I had good form the whole week, but today, because of the cold, the rain and the snow we had since Wednesday, I didn't feel as great as the other days. At the Mont Faron I suffered like I rarely have before."

He also owes the victory to his Caisse d'Epargne team. "I thought about all the work that my teammates had done, throughout the week as well as today. I knew I couldn't disappoint them. They set the rhythm for the whole climb and I finished the stage in second place, which was enough to take the overall."

It was quite a good debut for the rider from Murcia. "This was my first time in the Tour Med and I liked how the organizers and the public welcomed me. I also want to dedicate this victory to the French fans."

The fans had come out despite some blunders in the organization. On stage two, several riders were routed off-course just before the finish, altering the stage and overall results. Yesterday, there was dissatisfaction with the lack of communication. The stage had to be shortened and a winner was quickly declared. But everybody was given the same time and the overall standings were unchanged.

Like yesterday, the weather was bad, with snow showers making life difficult for the riders. Eventually, a group of six riders broke away and the race started in earnest. Ludovic Turpin (AG2R La Mondiale), Rémy Di Grégorio (Française des Jeux), Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Mickaël Chérel (Française des Jeux) and Paul Martens (Rabobank) had a maximum lead of 2'40.

The group was close to being caught at the foot of the Faron, so Turpin, Di Grégorio and Fofonov countered and brought their lead back up to 50 seconds, with six kilometers to go.

Less than four kilometers from the finish, Vinokourov, Masciarelli and Rémi Pauriol took off and caught the break. The peloton was at 15 seconds, with Vinokourov only 17 seconds behind in the overall.

But when Masciarelli went solo, the others couldn't follow. Valverde accelerated, caught and passed Vinokourov and finished second.

Results stage 5 - La Ciotat - Toulon (Mont Faron) - 126km

1. Francesco Masciarelli (ASA)
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (GCE)
3. Rinaldo Nocentini (ALM)
4. Robert Gesink (RAB)
5. Johnny Hoogerland (VAC)
6. Maxim Iglinskiy (AST)
7. Julien El Fares (COF)
8. Alexandre Geniez (SKS)
9. Amaël Moinard (COF)
10. Alexandre Vinokourov (AST)
11. Stefano Garzelli (ASA)
12. Florian Guillou (BSC)
13. Ludovic Turpin (ALM)
14. Tom Danielson (GRM)
15. Clément Lhotellerie (RLM)

Final overall classification

1. Alejandro Valverde (GCE)
2. Rinaldo Nocentini (ALM)
3. Maxim Iglinskiy (AST)
4. Johnny Hoogerland (VAC)
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (AST)
6. Yannick Talabardon (SAU)
7. Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ)
8. Robert Gesink (RAB)
9. Jean-Marc Marino (SAU)
10. Julien El Fares (COF)
11. Florian Guillou (BSC)
12. Ludovic Turpin (ALM)
13. Tom Danielson (GRM)
14. Clément Lhotellerie (RLM)
15. Rémi Pauriol (COF)


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