53 days later
Only the greatest are able to be back, after almost two months without competing, and achieve a victory in a complicated day with double climb to a mountain as intense as demanding as the Côte d ‘Aubignac
Valverde is one of the chosen ones. Well supported by a fantastic Movistar Team, the rainbow jersey got this Thursday the triumph in the first stage of the Route d’Occitanie, a race that he already won last year.
Edu Prades, Rafa Valls and Antonio Pedrero did a magnificent job in the double ascent to Aubignac, allowing the Murcian to finish in the final kilometers, demonstrating absolute control before the attempts of rivals such as Rigoberto Urán, Rein Taaramae or the young Ineos Iván Ramiro Sosa and Eddie Dunbar. Valverde kept calm until the final 300 meters, releasing his final attack to add his second success of the season, after the one achieved in Jebel Haffeet, in the Emirates Tour.
Quotes: The team has done a great job. We have taken the responsibility from the beginning and we made the first climb to the last port very fast. In the second, I told them to push from the bottom. Rigoberto Urán’s attack has been very strong. They have left me with all the responsibility, I understood it, so I tried to have everything under control. It will be difficult to keep the jersey until Sunday but it is clear that the preparation has been good. I am very motivated for what remains here and for the Tour de France, where we will work for Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa.
Photo: Route d’Occitanie / A. Lipke