Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) extended his lead at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2.1) when he won today’s queen stage, a tough 184km journey from Orihuela to the Alto de las Canteras in Cocentaina.
Valverde was the strongest on the decisive stretch of the final climb, where in the closing 150 metres he chased down Briton Adam Yates (Mitchellton Scott), who had jumped away seconds before.
The win, Valverde’s 110th as a professional rider, strengthens his lead in the overall standings, now with 14 seconds lead over 2nd-placed Luis León Sánchez (Astana) and 26″ over Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
Tomorrow’s final stage consists of a 135-kilometre route from Paterna to Valencia which includes the climb of the Alto del Oronet (Cat-4), 35 kilometres from the finish.
Alejandro Valverde: “The first thing I want to do is thank my whole team, because their work all day was impressive. The start was really, really fast, with attacks everywhere and not many teams wanting to keep things calm. Sky even tried to go all-in into the first ascent towards Cocentaina, after the Benillup climbs.
“When Kwiatkowski attacked, we tried to keep him at short distance first, but later on realised that we had to let him go, because we would be wasting some precious weapons if we tried to keep him on a leash. They then tried to get a third man at the front, and that’s where I went myself to chase him.
“The good thing was that my team-mates were able to stay strong and keep things a little bit more controlled in the following phase, so I could stay calm until the end. There’s no way I couldn’t finish things off for them, I had to pay them back. This win really feels great. I keep this yellow jersey and obtaining a second win in just seven days of racing… I honestly don’t know if I’m stronger than before the injury (laughs).”