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Alejandro Valverde claims queen stage at Tour of the Basque Country

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Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took the overall lead in the Tour of the Basque Country after winning the queen stage ahead of Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac).

The queen stage of the six-day race was short at 140 kilometers but packed with hefty climbs, and the fireworks erupted on the final of six ascents.  Despite a few searing attacks by Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) and fierce accelerations by Alejandro Valverde, a group of seven were together in the final two kilometers as the gradient eased.

Valverde won the stage, outsprinting four riders, while Alberto Contador crossed moments later, three precious seconds lost to another mishap.

“We set Rubén at the front to pull hard and pick the pace up heading into the climb; Yates jumped at the first slope and, when I saw him, I quickly tried to counter his move and make the GC contenders suffer”, said Valverde.

“I attacked and attacked, the other struggled, but I also suffered and it was difficult to create a gap. At the final stretch of the ‘new’ climb I decided to just set a steady pace, without any attacks, to catch Woods and Meintjes. That way, I could contest the sprint, where I knew I’d be the fastest. I knew the finish perfectly – one who doesn’t do might have his doubts about how to tackle that final turn, on full steam or braking a bit before going for the final straight. I knew I had to go full gas, that’s why I took the lead with 300m to go and never let anyone go ahead. I was second through the last turn when I won in the Vuelta a España, and was lucky to just pip Purito over the very finish line. That’s why I kept clear in mind I had to go through first.”


Tour of the Basque Country 2017 – stage 5 results

1Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

3:26:32

2Romain Bardet (AG2R)

,,

3Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)

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4Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac)

,,

5Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)

,,

6Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)

+03”

7Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida)

+15”

8Sergio Henao (Team Sky)

,,

9Simon Yates (Orica-Scott)

,,

10David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors)

+22”

 

General classification after stage 5:

1Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

20:05:18

2Romain Bardet (AG2R)

,,

3Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)

,,

4Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac)

,,

5Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)

,,

6Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)

+03”

7Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida)

+15”

8Sergio Henao (Team Sky)

,,

9David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors)

+19”

10Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)

+22”