Very few riders in the world can aspire to beat world-class climbers at stage races and then go on and fight, few days later, against classics specialists on the cobblestones of the finest Belgian races.
Alejandro Valverde proved once again to be one of those chosen to shine everywhere with a strong display at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
“We had a good impression of him, he was with our leader group after the Taaienberg, and we’d gone full gas on the climb. Then you know he’s not here to train”, said Yves Lampaert.
“A Spaniard on the cobbles, yes, but he’s not just any Spaniard, he’s one of the best riders in the last century. I really look up to him. He’s really a talented rider and always in an attack mode. I have respect for his performance,”.
“You know with Valverde, and Sunday [in the Tour of Flanders] with Vincenzo Nibali: they are really strong and talented guys. They can do everything. You have to watch them. You have to… You can’t let them go like they are nobody. If they come here, it’s not for training.”
Even Quick-Step Floors boss Patrick Lefevere was impressed.
“When I saw him attack, I thought, ‘What the hell is this?’” Lefevere said. “He’s a skinny guy, only 61kg, and he comes here and does that. You can only say ‘chapeau’ to that.”
“Surprised? Not really, he’s in such good shape,” Zdenek Stybar added. “You know in those races that if you have shape, you are always in the right place at the right moment. When you have form, you sense the moves and you have the power to stay at the front.
“Bardet and Quintana? No, I just saw Valverde always up there. He’s an excellent rider. A lot of respect for him, he can do everything.”