First stage race of the season
It was a very well worked triumph on the Route d’Occitanie, the second consecutive for Alejandro Valverde in this race after the one achieved the last season. The Murcian cyclist returned to the roads in the French race and he could not do it better, winning at the end of the first stage.
After a flat day with victory for Démare, Valverde and Movistar Team defended the orange jersey in the queen stage on Saturday, with steps through the Port de Bales and final in Hospice de France, located very close to Bagneres de Luchon.
The world champion resisted the attacks of Rigoberto Urán and Iván Ramiro Sosa in the terrible final kilometers of the climb. He set his own pace and caught up with the two Colombians before the arrival. The young man from Team Ineos took the win; while Valverde kept the leader’s jersey when finishing second.
The Route d’Occitane concluded this Sunday with a fast, nervous and very hot stage. The work of Movistar Team was key to defend the interests of its leader, who adds an important victory after almost two months without racing.
Quotes: It’s been a really hard day because of the heat. Where I live it’s normal to experience these temperatures, yet today’s humidity was unreal. It’s been another stage of good work from the whole team: always at the front, always keeping things under control, and securing our final prize with the GC win. It’s always important to win, no matter where it is. Also, I’ve been fortunate to win wherever I’ve been in the past few years more than once, which makes me so proud. It’s a really long career for me so far, already 39 years old… I’m actually the oldest guy in here, it seems!
Photo: Route d’Occitanie / A. Lipke