Alejandro Valverde: 'Good feelings before Paris-Nice'
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alejandro Valverde: 'Good feelings before Paris-Nice'

by VeloNation Press at 2:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice

Two weeks after winning the Tour of the Mediterranean in his first participation, Alejandro Valverde returned from a planned break in his racing this Sunday at the Clásica of Almeria. Valverde sealed up his win in the French race two weeks ago with a strong second place in the final stage that ended on the Mont Faron climb outside Toulon.

In today's Clásica of Almeria he was second to the top of the La Serrata, a 3rd category climb, and then rolled in the with the group finishing 29th on the day. Dutch sprinter Theo Bos (Cervelo TestTeam) was the fastest in the sprint, pulling a surprise win over Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia).

Valverde's Caisse d’Epargne teammate Luis León Sánchez finished a strong fourth amongst the fast-men.

“The race went just as expected and we could not avoid a final sprint even if we did a great job while climbing the hill with the intention of breaking the pack and dropping the sprinters”, said Valverde after finishing in Almeria.

The 2009 Vuelta a Espana winner wasn't too worried about getting a result today after his break from racing, but he was riding with gaining form for his next big target in mind.

“The most important thing today is that I had good feelings after I stopped racing for fourteen days. The week after the Mediterranean Tour I did rather easy training sessions but last Monday I started training harder again and also increased the number of kilometers on my bike.”

Satisfied with how his training has been progressing, Valverde thinks his team will be one of the favorites next week in France.

“Next Sunday I will be at the start of Paris-Nice. That race is very important, for me and for my team. Our intention is to get a good result and possibly win. We know that we will have many adversaries; to start with Contador, but our team is a very strong one."

Contador was poised to win the race last year after winning the prologue and the toughest mountain stage, but lost the leaders jersey to Caisse d'Epargne's Sánchez on stage seven when he suffered from hunger knock and couldn't respond to attacks.

"We will start with two leaders on the team and I believe that between Luis León who won last year and myself, we will do a great job," explained Valverde. He doesn't see a problem with the two sharing a leadership role in the “Course au soleil” next week.

"I think the fact that we are racing with two leaders is an advantage rather than a problem because we will have more possibilities to take advantage of the opportunities that the race will offer”, he added.

Following Paris-Nice Valverde will then head to his next battle at the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS), where the International Cycling Union (UCI) and WADA will challenge the Spanish Cycling Federation's non-action with respect to the evidence that could implicate him in Operación Puerto. If Valverde loses, he faces the prospect of his existing Italian ban from the sport being extended globally. He appealed against the Italian doping ban and was heard last month by CAS, but they have put off making a decision in the case until next month.


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