Exhibition in extremis
Achieving a spectacular triumph is sometimes a matter of few centimeters. Alejandro Valverde tasted the triumph in the fourth and final stage of the Route d’Occitanie after a long ride of 70 kilometers with his countryman Luis León Sánchez (Astana). Both attacked immediately after the descent of the Pic de Nore (1st), where Team Sky reduced the group of favorites to just 10 men.
The two Murcian riders got an advantage of 2 minutes but the work of FDJ and other teams in the final kilometers offered a spectacular outcome. Valverde and Luisle resisted until the finish line, when the Movistar Team decided to try it against the proximity of the pursuers. An agonizing sprint, one of those that leave empty even the spectator. Only the veteran Frenchman Anthony Roux could overcome Alejandro over the line, who assured in any case his victory in the general, the eleventh this season.
Quotes: “It was a very tough final stage, and we riders played a big part on it, I guess. ‘Luisle’ went on the attack after the descent, I followed him and in the following kilometers I kept taking turns because I couldn’t let him just pull on his own if we stood a chance for the stage win. At the final little climbs he was struggling a bit and I was pulling off the gas so we could stay together for as long as possible, to have a bigger chance to win, but they really closed the gap from behind and my sprint was too late, launching it from 200 meters to go. In the end, Roux got past few meters before the end. We must still remain happy, because after all, we won the overall classification. That’s a confirmation I did things right for the past month, even if I missed the Tour de Suisse due to illness. I feel like the whole team, as well as myself, did a brilliant job. The goals were more than accomplished – we came here just with a will to get ready for July and, after that, seeking for some wins, and we achieved both“.
Quotes: Movistar Team