World Champion Alejandro Valverde crossed the finish line in Oudenaarde in eighth place, a good result at his first participation in Tour of Flanders.
“For sure I’ll be thinking about coming back here. I was in the first group, the select group, and that gives me confidence,” Valverde said.
“To win it, I don’t know. It’s true that it went very well, but it’s a race you have to know well.”
“The truth is I’m very happy. It’s a very demanding race, above all due to the tension, the nerves, positioning. Once the main group had thinned down a little, I felt good and tried to ride the climbs towards the front. I finished happy,” Valverde said.
“As the race went on, strength showed through, and the group became smaller and it was easier to maintain a good position. That went very well for me.”
“It was difficult, because there were some fast guys in there,” Valverde said. “On the final climb we went over with four and we tried to make it work but it didn’t. Then another group came and from then on it was very difficult. I wasn’t going to spend more energy than the others.”
“The number of fans surprised me. It’s phenomenal, and I want to thank all the fans because I was buzzing, riding in front of them,” he said.