The first part of Alejandro Valverde’s outstanding 2017 season has come to an end in the best possible way, as he claimed his eleventh win of the year at the 103rd edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“This victory is a tribute to Michele Scarponi”, said Valverde. “I was close friends with him and it made me really, really sad to see him go pass away so young, in such tragic circumstances. I just couldn’t believe it when I saw the news. It wasn’t just me, but the whole team, the whole cycling world. All prizes I get here today will go to his family.
“It’s a historical win – to be honest, it was a perfect week for us, even though it was so hard to get the victory today. Just like we did Wednesday at Flèche Wallonne, we took command of the race from the very beginning, yet there was a moment we left the front for other teams to take their turns, because the break was a big one and it would have been much more difficult to bring it back without help. Everyone was on the limit today.
“At the final slope in Ans, Martin really went hard to win solo, but I was looking for my distance to sprint, and with 300 meters to go, I just went on full steam to chase him down. Even though I saw Albasini sitting on my wheel, I had no doubts about carrying on. I was able to catch Martin, breathe for a few seconds and sprint to the line. Because of everything that happened yesterday, it’s undoubtedly my most special victory here. I want to thank my whole team, because they were incredible once again, and fulfilled their tasks perfectly so I could focus on pulling this off.”