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Valverde claims opening stage of Ruta del Sol

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Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde claimed the first stage of the Ruta del Sol. The Movistar rider crossed the finish line ahead of Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) in a six-man sprint.

Going on the attack in both the ascent and the downhill of the Cat-1 Alto de Monachil, Valverde completed a superb day of racing on stage one of the Vuelta a Andalucía with an astonishing sprint that puts him back into the leader’s jersey he climed atop Peñas Blancas, following the final day of the 2016 race.

An attack by Alberto Contador halfway through the ascent allowed Valverde to show his good legs and to go on the attack into the last kilometer of Monachil. The Spaniard continued his move through the early part of the downhill, more twisty than the two-way road later on, where he was reached down by Ion Izagirre, Diego Rosa and Contador, joined by Sébastien Reichenbachand Wout Poels as they entered Granada.

“We couldn’t have started things off in a better way. For the time being, we’ve got a stage win – everything that comes after this is a gift for us. We knew that Contador would be doing well, and he showed he was willing to fight when his team started to take the reigns of the peloton without asking anyone to help them out. He played his cards and really made the difference, yet we defended ourselves well. When we were the two of us alone at the front, it was complicated to keep pushing because his attacks left no room to breathe. Plus, there was a group with three Sky riders pulling, which made it difficult to escape.

“At the end, I decided to give it a try myself into the last slope and I opened a bit of a gap, but it was difficult to make it grow and finish solo, so I chose to wait for Ion and Alberto, who were coming close behind. I was keeping in mind that I was the fastest into such a field sprint, and at the end it was a good result for us – it’s the win that counts here.

Vuelta a Andalucia 2017 – stage 1 results (Rincón de la Victoria – Granada):

1Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

4:02:28

2Wout Poels (Team Sky)

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3Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ)

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4Diego Rosa (Team Sky)

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5Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida)

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6Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)

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7Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)

+05”

8Mikel Landa (Team Sky)

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9Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)

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10Warren Barguil (Sunweb)

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