The grueling Lo Port climb that concluded stage five at Volta a Catalunya carved out the best climbers, leaving three – Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Sky) – battling for the stage and overall classification with less than two kilometers to go.
Contador may have been the first to attack, but Valverde had the last say with a counter move in the last kilometer that no one could match, and he soloed to the win and into the leader’s jersey with two stages remaining.
“It was a relatively simple stage because we only had the final climb, which was hard, but also a little open and with headwind,” said Contador. “The roads were good, and it was relatively easy to go in the wheels, and that has made it so that everyone arrived very fresh at the final. Although the climb had steep grades, the differences have not been as big as they would be in other conditions.
“My feelings were not bad, maybe I was a bit stuck and I lacked a little bit in the end to be able to fight for the victory. I have arrived ahead, but I didn’t have that final punch I would have liked to win.”
“Movistar played it well,” continued Contador. “They have done it perfectly: they had two riders in the top four so I had to also control Marc Soler, and that did not allow me to be able to watch Alejandro. Then Alejandro attacked hard from behind and made enough room to reach the finish.
“But I’m super happy. It’s true that we couldn’t crown the work, but I’m very satisfied with my performance. The training and preparation are in the right direction, and that makes me motivated and eager.”