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First podium of the season

Alejandro Valverde has needed 208 days to return to the competition but only two days to fight again for a win. The Movistar Team rider finished third in the demanding Serra de Tramuntana Trophy, the second trophy of the Challenge of Majorca, the race that opens the calendar in Europe this week.

Valverde has been very close to the success. The Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) has been awarded for the second year in a row with the victory, ahead of the Italian Gianni Moscon (Team Sky). The Murcian rider has attacked in the two final climbs of the route: Puig Major and Coll den Bleda, but he has lost contact in the wet descents. However, his performance has made it clear that the injury suffered in the last Tour de France is forgotten.

Quotes: “Today’s result and feelings have been good, really great I’d say. I felt really strong today. The training had gone well, but today’s race was the real test to check if my knee was recovered. It was the best place to give it a good try: a cold race, under the rain, on dangerous roads… It all went really smooth, the best I could dream of. Especially on the climbs. I really felt strong on the uphill parts. On the descents, though, it was more difficult for me. I was a bit worried and didn’t want to take any risks, because the roads were on a very dangerous state. Keeping the pace of those guys uphill after everything that happened is something to be really happy about. I knew I was doing well, but not so much.”

The Challenge of Majorca continues this Saturday with its third trophy. It starts in Lloseta and finishes in Andratx, on a nervous route with two ports of third category and a multitude of non-scoring slopes.

Photo and quotes: Movistar Team