Valverde hits again
An exciting 27-kilometer time trial around Eibar closed the 57th edition of the Tour of the Basque Country, the first one in the list of Alejandro Valverde. The cyclist from Movistar Team completed in the Itzulia a crushing beginning of 2017, with nine triumphs divided among Murcia, Andalusia, Catalonia and the Basque race.
The last stage was solved with the triumph of the Slovenian Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) ahead of Valverde, who regulated his efforts during a complicated route, with several ups and downs and the ascent to Elgeta. With this result, Valverde not only kept the yellow jersey, but also increased his advantage over Alberto Contador (Trek) and Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), second and third in the overall.
Quotes: “Man, it was hard! I really wanted to win this Itzulia. I have been on the verge of success so many years, always came close without a win – fortunately, it seems like I’m on a good streak this season, and claiming overall honours at last makes for a very special success. Having no pressure before this race was possible thanks to that excellent start to 2017. It was a different País Vasco from previous editions, with lighter routes in the beginning – always demanding but not to much – and, at the end and as in every edition, it came down to the final TT. That’s where we had to give everything for the win. Every single year, at this point of the season, I yell it’s my best start ever. But this time, you can’t have any doubts: it’s the best one. With everything that I’ve won so far, I’m heading into the classics without any stress… maybe if I win one in the Ardennes, I can skip the rest of the season! (Laughs) Seriously: I’m in very good condition and we must try and take advantage from it at the Ardennes. After that, we’ll have some rest and start preparing for the Tour”.
Valverde faces a quick rest before his next targets: Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liège.
Photo: Movistar Team