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Can Valverde make history in La Fleche Wallonne?
April 18, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alejandro Valverde is one of just five riders who have won La Flche Wallonne three times, but has the chance to make history on Wednesday and top even the great Eddy Merckx and Moreno Argentin to become the first to have four titles in the mid-week Classic. The 35-year-old is being chased by a host of challengers, including recent Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal), but there's an entire generation coming behind who have shown the potential to win. Last year's runner-up Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quickstep) has shown strong form after suffering mononucleosis over the winter, and has two solid contenders at his side should he falter - Dan Martin and Brabantse Pijl winner Petr Vakoc.ADVERTISEMENT Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) put in a gutsy attack in the Amstel Gold Race and will line up with fellow contenders Vanendert and Tony Gallopin. Orica-GreenEdge's Michael Matthews is still looking for his first Classic win after a pair of stage victories in Paris-Nice, and has Adam Yates and Michael Albasini to back him up. Other riders who have shown strong form coming into the final Spring Classics in the Ardennes are Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale). After his commanding victory in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon this weekend, it looks like the race could be Valverde's to lose, but when asked if he would go for the win in Belgium, Valverde said, "Well, we will see. The field of contenders is completely different to what I had to face this weekend. Those are races Ive really enjoyed for years, but my main goal at the moment is staying safe and keeping my form going up before the biggest goal of the early season for me, which is the Giro. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Quintana undecided on Vuelta a Espana participation
July 31, 2015 (13:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Nairo Quintana and his Movistar team are still to decide whether or not the Colombian will ride the Vuelta a Espaa next month. At the end of last season Quintana indicated his intentions to ride the Vuelta, along with teammate Alejandro Valverde, but following a tough Tour de France his participation is not certain. We are deciding if it if possible to do the Vuelta or not and a little later we will take the decision. For now, I will rest and disconnect and wait for Eusebio (Unzu) to decide, Quintana said, according to Biciciclismo. I am not taking a break as such, due to team commitments, for many things and Im with my family. Should he race the Vuelta, he will face the likes of Fabio Aru, Tejay van Garderen, Joaquin Rodrguez and Valverde in the battle for the overall classification. Chris Froome is also considering riding the Spanish Grand Tour. Quintana looked on course to win last years Vuelta a Espaa but suffered a crashes during the mountain time trial and the following stage, which forced him to withdraw. It is not clear whether Quintana will race elsewhere or if he will call an end to his season if he and the team decide not to enter him in the Vuelta a Espaa.ADVERTISEMENT Alberto Contador was due to end his season at San Sebastian this weekend but a fever forced him to pull out early. Contador had a busy start to the season though, as he attempted to do the Giro-Tour double. Quintana, in contrast, spent much of the early season training in Colombia and has currently only completed 55 race days " although that is slightly more than the 48 that Tour de France winner Froome has done thus far. Quintana finished second to Froome at the Tour de France, 1:12 behind the Team Sky rider, backing up his performance in his debut in 2013. The truth is that it was spectacular and great to return to the Tour de France after two years and repeat the second place. It is the confirmation that we are well, we continue on track and that the maturation continues, he said. And the additional podiums of best young rider, the team classification and second in the mountains confirm what I did in 2013. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde and Rodriguez to face off at Clsica San Sebastin
July 31, 2015 (03:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The WorldTour one-day races will resume at the Clsica Ciclista San Sebastin on Saturday where Movistars Alejandro Valverde will line up as the top ranked rider in the series and the defending champion, with a goal of winning his third title. It wont be an easy feat, however, as the race will showcase a strong field of competitors including his compatriot Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Valverde and Rodriguez will arrive to the one-day race having recently completed the Tour de France. Valverde placed third overall behind winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) and his own teammate Nairo Quintana, while Rodriguez showed top form by winning two stages; on the punchy climb to Huy and on the Plateau de Beille. In addition, both riders are well-suited for the Clsica San Sebastins challenging 220km parcours that includes the category 1 Alto de Jaizkebel followed by the category 2 Alto de Arkale, which the peloton will contest twice. The race will also finish with the climb up Bordako Tontorra, a nine per cent gradient that summits just seven kilometres from the finish line.ADVERTISEMENT Valverde is a proven winner on the circuit having topped the podium in 2008 and in 2014, where he soloed to the victory on the same course. Riders who do well in the Ardennes Classics are generally tipped to race well in San Sebsastian, and Valverde is a three-time winner of both Lige-Bastogne-Lige and La Flche Wallonne, most recently winning both races this spring. Movistar for Clsica San Sebastin:Alejandro Valverde, Winner Anacona, Giovanni Visconti, Rory Sutherland, Jess Herrada, Javi Moreno, Rubn Fernndez and Jos Joaqun Rojas. Katusha lines up for Rodriguez You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Bahamontes: Valverde should try to win the Tour de France in 2016
July 30, 2015 (04:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Federico Martn Bahamontes has urged Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to try to improve on his third place in the 2015 Tour de France and go for the overall win next July. Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE, Bahamontes predicted Valverde "will go for another Tour, because if he's finished third, then it's his obligation to go for second or first." Bahamontes was particularly impressed that Valverde could do so well in the Tour de France, taking his best ever overall result in a race in which the rider fro Murcia first shone with a mountain top stage win at Courchevel in 2005, "after what's been a very race heavy season so far." Warming to his case, Bahamontes added that Valverde "should have done the same as Quintana and have rested more before the Tour."ADVERTISEMENT Rated the best Tour de France climber in history, Bahamontes argued to EFE that "it's been a Tour with a lot of contenders, and the rider who was strongest physically was not [Tour winner Chris] Froome (Sky), but [Nairo] Quintana (Movistar)." "However, what I like to see is riders on the attack from the foot of the climbs, he [Quintana] is a great climber, but I prefer [Vincenzo] Nibali's way of racing." "When you're a climber, you have to attack, then when they catch you, attack again and on the third attack, that's when you'll drop them." You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Movistar's willingness to risk comes too late for Tour de France glory
July 28, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
In Modane for the start of the Tour de Frances penultimate stage of 2015, Movistar sat in the enviable position of having two riders on the podium and leading the best young rider and team classifications. Half way up the Col de la Croix de Fer, it appeared the team would be taking a conservative approach on the road to the Alpe dHuez finish to preserve the bounty awaiting them in Paris. Alejandro Valverde, distinguishable from his teammates with a red and yellow sash around his midriff to signify his status as Spanish national champion, stopped admiring the view on the Croix de Fer and danced his way out of the yellow jersey group. Valverdes acceleration would soon be followed by Nairo Quintana who bridged across to his teammate and the duo quickly went about building their advantage of the chasers, including an isolated Chris Froome.ADVERTISEMENT This particular roll of the dice from Movistar didnt pay off, with the move over by the summit of the hors catgorie climb, but was a signal of intent from the team to take the fight to Sky and Froome. We had our last shot at the final victory [we] tried a long attack on the Croix de Fer and also at L'Alpe d'Huez, but it was actually a stage where Froome had domestiques on top of their game and our final chances to turn things around were done," Movistars team manager Eusebio Unzu said of the final opportunity the team had for overall victory. Quintana was able to extract over a minute on Froome up the Alpe but taking 2:38 on the 13.8km climb for victory was always going to be a tough ask. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Nibali: Ive never seen Valverde so strong
July 24, 2015 (15:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Vincenzo Nibali has endured a frustrating couple of days in the Alps in the Tour de France; hes full of attacking intent but finds himself a marked man, despite being over eight minutes down on general classification. The Sicilan attacked on the Col dAllos on stage 17 and tried to wriggle free on the Col du Glandon and on the Lacets de Montvernier the following day, but he has not been able to shake the trio of Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, and Alejandro Valverde. He sees the Movistar duo, who seem to be protecting their two-three on GC, as the keenest to shut him down him down and even claims he has never seen Valverde so strong. I could see that they werent letting me go. I had hoped to link up with Contador when he attacked but I hesitated for a few seconds and stayed in the group. After that I was on the leash for the whole race, said Nibali, according to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.ADVERTISEMENT I saw that everyone was marking me, above all the Movistar guys. I had never seen Alejandro Valverde in such form, he is stronger than ever. It is unclear whether theres more than meets the eye to that comment on Valverde, who was banned for his implication in the 2006 Operacin Puerto case. What is clear is that Nibali, who seems to be getting stronger after a dreadful opening 10 stages, will continue in this attacking vein. He sits seventh on GC with two gruelling days in the Alps to come, featuring summit finishes at La Toussuire and Alpe dHuez. While he has renounced any realistic ambition of defending his Tour title, he insists anything could happen and whether its a stage win or moving up on GC, hes ready to roll the dice. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Battle for top 10 heats up
July 24, 2015 (15:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The battle for the yellow jersey is down to just two people at best with Chris Froome (Team Sky) seemingly in control with just two more days in the mountains remaining, while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) does his level best to knock him from the top spot. Behind the duelling pair Alejandro Valverde is sitting comfortably in the final podium spot, despite suffering on Thursday, but there is a battle heating up for the remaining positions within the top 10. Just over two minutes separate fourth through to eighth, while those towards the bottom of the top 10 have a tough two days ahead if they want to keep it. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) leads the best of the rest, as it were. The Welshman has been enjoying his best Tour de France to date, currently sitting in fourth and 2:25 behind the final podium spot. Thomas showed his first signs of weakness in Wednesdays ride to Pra Loup, getting dropped on the penultimate climb of the Col dAllos but remains in fourth. Alberto Contador is just six seconds behind him, though, and Robert Gesink is at 1:05 down on the team Sky rider. As much as hed like to protect his own position overall, he has the race leader Froome to consider. Its one of those, when Contador and Gesink went, half of me was like oh Ill go but its got to be everything for the team so I stuck with the boys and I didnt panic, said Thomas. If the team is as strong as it is then my job wont come until the end of the stages so that gives me the best chance of holding my GC but as long as Froomey wins and I do my job for him then thats all I can ask for. Go big or go home is an adage that could be applied to Contadors approach to racing. It hasnt been for a want of trying that the Spaniard finds himself at 6:40 down overall. Despite having already admitting defeat in the general classification after his crash on stage 17, Contador made a concerted effort on the Col du Glandon. The efforts are beginning to show and Contador accepts that perhaps the podium is out of his grasp. If you told me that I would attack the leaders group at the start of the day then I wouldnt have believed it. It has been a really hard day on the bike and I hurt all over. Tomorrow I will have a hard time but we are already here so we have to try something, said Contador. Obviously the position that I am in now in the general classification is not to my liking but it would have to be something really big for Alejandro to lose the podium.ADVERTISEMENT The shark bites Another rider that is still pushing hard to salvage something from this Tour de France is the defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). A shadow of the rider we saw last season, Nibali was struggling to keep himself inside the top 10 in the first half of the race. Hes hit his stride now and has been gradually moving his way up the standings and now lies seventh overall at 8:04. I dont have anything to lose so I can take a bet on doing something, said Nibali. People are trying to mark me because maybe they can see that Im better now and I can do something from far out. Id love to fight back in some way but its about being in the right mood. Contador and I looked at each other but nothing happened. Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) wraps up this cluster of riders battling each other behind the podium spots, after a solid ride on the opening day of the Alps. Frank held firm en-route to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne but the next two stages will be a much sterner test on his overall placing. Hes got a healthy advantage of 3:19 over Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), who looked in trouble on Thursday and slipped to 12:06 back. Romain Bardets (AG2R-La Mondiale) victory on stage 18 has jumped him into the top 10 at 12:52 down but, like Mollema, he is under threat from the likes of Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) and Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin). The former is just 16 seconds back on his compatriot. Perhaps the overall victory is all but decided but the fight behind the yellow jersey could go down to the wire and, as this Tour de France has shown us time and again, anything can happen. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Valverde third on GC after unexpected twists
July 23, 2015 (15:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The first day in the Alps brought unexpected twists that moved Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) into third overall at the Tour de France. The change was due to the abandonment of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) who had fallen ill, unable to continue racing. It was awful to see van Garderen leaving the race, Valverde said at the finish. I want to send him all my support. I know how it feels - the Tour and cycling are as hard as this. I was just off of the podium last year, fourth after the final TT following a tough final week and I know the bad side of this race. Rather than waiting for the final two, much-talked about climbs of the day, Nairo Quintana attacked early in the stage. The fast pace, helped by a late attack by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), enabled the isolation of Chris Froome. Though Valverde took his chances trying to distance himself from the leaders, Froome remained attentive as the group climbed to the finish together.ADVERTISEMENT While Quintana was unable to shake Froome, the Movistar team gained confidence that time still remains before the celebratory stage to Paris on Sunday. Its true that there are only three days left in this Tour before Paris, but theres still much left to cover, Valverde said. Its also true that Im feeling really well, working hard for my teammate Nairo, and trying everything to create some gaps, but Froome is really strong and its hard to beat him. The Spanish road champion now sits over two minutes ahead of fourth place on GC, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who had crashed on a descent, losing more valuable time. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Quintana and Valverde promise more attacks in the Alps
July 22, 2015 (09:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
With only five stages remaining in the 2015 Tour de France, including four difficult days in the Alps, Movistars Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde promised on Tuesday to continue their general classification fight until the race ends on the Champs lyses this Sunday. Barring any unforeseen incidents on the road, unseating race leader Chris Froome at this point will be a monumental task. Quintana is currently second overall, 3:10 behind race leader Chris Froome, while Valverde is fourth overall, 20 seconds behind BMCs Tejay van Garderen and more than four minutes behind Froome. "Finishing runner-up wouldn't be a failure for me, rather a huge honour, but there's still a long way to go in this Tour and we'll give everything to win, Quintana said during the teams rest-day press conference in gap.ADVERTISEMENT For his part, Valverde echoed his team leaders sentiments about the Tour so far and their hopes for Paris. Finishing in second and third would be phenomenal, but all of my teammates and myself will give all that's left inside us for the win, he said. For me, it's evident that Nairo remains incredibly strong and ready to win. In every race I shared with him from the start of the season, I always saw him doing well, but for this third week in the Tour he's got special motivation, a strong will to do great things and good physical shape to try and gain back that lost time. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde tops the Tour de France fan mail charts
July 21, 2015 (15:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has finally succeeded in toppling Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) as the rider who receives the most fan mail in the Tour de France, Docapost, the company responsible for organising the races internal post-service has revealed. Valverde rose from third place in 2013 to second place in the fan mail rankings behind his former teammate, and he is now getting the most correspondence from the public. The most popular is Valverde with 123 letters, second is Rui Costa, even if hes abandoned, and third is [Alberto] Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), fourth is Chris Froome (Team Sky) and fifth is [Jean-Christophe] Praud (Ag2R La Mondiale), Sylvain Fourre of Docapost told Cyclingnews.ADVERTISEMENT Abandons dont seem to make much of a difference, given last year Contador, even after crashing out, received a lot of support. And Costa, too, continues to receive mail even though he abandoned the race on stage 11 over the Col du Tourmalet. Illness and injuries tend to bring a surge of popularity, Fourre tells Cyclingnews. Jean-Christophes accident saw him get a big boost in his correspondence. But its a bit surprising we havent had more support for the French. Last year, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) got a lot of backing - he was the most popular in 2012 - and at this same point in the race last year, he would be in second, third or fourth, this year hes maybe seventh or eighth. I think maybe Valverde is getting so much support because hes always on the attack. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Tour de France: Quintana still focussed on taking yellow jersey
July 20, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Going into the Tour de France, it was expected that Nairo Quintana (Movistar) would be able to blow the race apart with his stinging attacks in the mountains. He was the only one to get anywhere close to Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the opening day in the Pyrenees but the first signs of what he could do didn't come until the final day in the high mountains. En route to Mende on Saturday, Quintana showed again hints of the rider we hoped that we would see this July. The Colombian was ultimately unable to shake Froome again, but he would crack all of his other rivals and move himself into second place overall. Froome would put a second into Quintana on the line and nudge out the distance to the top spot but, despite seeing the yellow jersey edge further away, Quintana is not yet ready to give up on taking it back to Colombia. "I'm really happy with having climbed onto second. We knew that patience would bring this place to us, but our real goal, the one we're focused on, is taking place number one, said Quintana. We have worked hard with the team through all these days, we found a chance to gain time today and we're staying confident and determined to try some attacks when the big mountains are back, maybe still being able to go after that yellow dream.ADVERTISEMENT Quintanas teammate Alejandro Valverde was also on a good day in Mende, as he closed in on a podium position. Valverde was initially put in trouble by Quintanas attack, although the 35-year-old says it was a conscious decision to drop back in order not to pull their rivals back to Quintana. Valverde eventually caught Alberto Contador - his nearest rival in the GC - and despite apparent protestations from Tinkoff-Saxo riders not to attack him, Valverde did just that and increased his advantage over the former Tour de France winner to 21 seconds. This is a competition, Alberto needs to understand that, Valverde said following the stage, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. I and my team are working to win the Tour with Quintana, but if I make the podium it would be incredible. He later said in a press release from his team: When I reached him, Contador asked me for some turns and I told him I couldn't take them, because Nairo was ahead. This is racing: he's doing his job, mine is to take care of Nairo, and he was the one who had to push. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Contador improving after moving into 5th place at Tour de France
July 19, 2015 (06:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Despite losing time to Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Movistar duo Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana on the final climb of stage 14, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) argues that his condition is steadily improving " to the point where making attacks is no longer out of the question. When Quintana first went clear, Contador opted to stick close to Froome on the ascent to Mende " where he has twice won in Paris-Nice, in 2007 and 2010 " although he was finally dropped by the Briton on the upper-half of the climb. Caught by Valverde near the summit, the Madrileo was unable to follow when the Movistar rider powered away, rolling across the line with 19 seconds lost to Froome, 18 to Quintana and 15 to Valverde.ADVERTISEMENT On the plus side for Contador, he has gained enough time on Geraint Thomas (Sky) to move into fifth overall, and has recouped some of his losses on Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) as well. All in all, after his stinging defeat in the Pyrenees, he believes that represents a gain. Froome finally proved too much for me, Contador said, I tried to hold on but it just wasnt possible. So Ive lost some time, but the important thing is Im feeling stronger, different to how I was earlier in the race. I can stand on the pedals and even think about attacking now. Ive lost time, but theres still a long way to go to Paris, and I can still turn in some good rides. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Quintana: Anything can still happen in the Tour de France
July 14, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Although Nairo Quintana and his teammate Alejandro Valverde are almost two minutes behind Tour de France leader Chris Froome (Sky) coming into the first rest day, the Movistar riders still insist that the race is not yet lost. With nothing but hilly stages between Pau and Paris, the diminutive Colombian is hoping that the heat and the high mountains will give him the advantage he needs. Quintana held Froome to just 16 seconds in the stage 1 time trial, but then missed the split in the crosswinds on stage 2 and gave up another 1:28. The team made it through the next crash-filled stages intact, although Quintana was banged up in the uphill crash on stage 4, and Quintana says everyone is still in good shape. "The team is still whole and performing really well, as everyone could see yesterday in the team time trial," Quintana said. "I think that Pyrenees, with Alejandro and all of them by my side, will be a good opportunity to turn things around in our favour." The transition from flat road racing and a rest day into a high mountain finish is always a difficult one for the riders, and with stage 10 traversing 145 rolling kilometers before heading straight up the hors-categorie La Pierre-Saint-Martin ascent, Quintana expects an unpredictable day.ADVERTISEMENT It's a fairly steady climb, really demanding and one where temperatures could play a role. They say it usually heats up more than others nearby," Quintana said. Normally a rider who copes with the heat better than most, the Colombian is unsure of how he will perform because the race has been on largely flat roads for the first nine stages. The rider who lit up the 2013 Tour de France and climbed to the Giro d'Italia victory last year is the most naturally talented rider in the peloton when it comes to climbing, but he played down his chances for tomorrow's stage. "It's been 15 days since I climbed such a demanding mountain. There could be attacks from the foot of it, at the end or even not happening anything at all, but I like it, just like with all other long climbs." You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Quintana: Nibali and Contador are the favourites for the Tour de France
July 04, 2015 (10:46) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Just moments after Vincenzo Nibali left the Tour de France's press centre having picked Nairo Quintana as his favourite to win the yellow jersey, the Colombian arrived and immediately pronounced the Italian as his favourite for the title alongside Alberto Contador. "Everyone has their favourite, and all of the riders likely to be in contention for the yellow jersey are very strong. But when you look at things seriously I think you would have to pick out Nibali and Contador as the biggest favourites," said the Colombian. Sitting alongside Movistar's co-leader, Alejandro Valverde, Quintana admitted the Tour route offers him plenty of reason for optimism. "I've prepared well and like the parcours a lot. I'm well prepared to get through the tests that lie in wait in the opening week. Beyond that, this is a course that's very favourable to me," he said.ADVERTISEMENT It didn't take long for the issue of Nibali's questioning of Quintana's whereabouts during last month's Critrium du Dauphin to come up. "I think what he said was misinterpreted and didn't put across what he meant. I was training in Colombia, which is my home country and where my family lives," Quintana asserted. "I've had at least five doping controls in Colombia over the past year," he then explained. Having skipped over that hurdle, he moved on to answer the question of the hierarchy at Movistar. He described Valverde as his idol when he joined the team in 2012 and his great friend. "When he was the leader I was always there to help him, and we always rode well together. I hope it will turn out to be a great race for both of us," he said. Valverde immediately underlined the point that Quintana had made rather more delicately. "The Tour route really favours him. He's the strongest climber in the race. I will do everything possible to help him with the objective of winning the Tour," said the Spanish veteran. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
InCycle video: Quintana on the right path for Tour de France
July 03, 2015 (13:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Nairo Quintana may be the name on many pundits' lips when they speak about their favourite to win the Tour de France, but the man himself is playing down his chances to follow up his Giro d'Italia victory last year with a maiden Tour victory. "There are lots of different riders in with a chance, I don't think I'm the only one, and I don't think I'm the top favourite," he said. "It's clear I'm feeling really good right now, and I'm on the right path for the Tour. But there are other riders who are also going well, and we'll have to keep a close eye on what they're capable of doing." When he last raced the Tour de France in 2013, Quintana finished second, but this year's parcours offers up more challenges, including the cobbles on stage 4 to Cambrai which generally do not favour diminutive climbers. However, Quintana has planned ahead, adding some northern Classics to his calendar where he demonstrated how well he can handle his bike, even on wet pav.ADVERTISEMENT "It's made me feel a lot calmer about it, and I don't think I'll have any problems there," he said. "In 2013 I won a series of different races before the Tour, and I did a very different race programme. This year I won Tirreno-Adriatico and almost got on the podium in Pais Vasco. I did the Classics, even though it's clear they're not races that suit me. Then, with a top 10 overall in Romandie. I think it was a good chapter in my season and it's put me right on track for the Tour de France." In the last Tour they raced together, Quintana was billed as a super-domestique on the Movistar squad for Alejandro Valverde, until the Spaniard was left behind in the crosswinds on stage 13 to Saint-Amand-Monrond, and Quintana was given the latitude to ride for his own result. This year Valverde has signed on in a support role for Quintana. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde to play support role for Quintana at Tour de France
June 29, 2015 (13:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Movistar have confirmed the riders that will support Nairo Quintana as he attempts to become the first Colombian to win the Tour de France. Newly crowned Spanish road race champion Alejandro Valverde will play a key support role for Quintana while providing the team with a plan B should anything go wrong. A winner at Flche Wallonne and Lige-Bastogne-Lige, Valverde will be a strong ally for Quintana in the first week and in the key mountain stages. It is a reversal of roles from Quintanas first appearance at the Tour in 2013, where he played the domestique role to his more experienced teammate. Then some bad luck for Valverde in the crosswinds gave the young Colombian his chance to shine and he eventually finished second overall behind Chris Froome (Team Sky). Quintana went on to win the 2014 Giro dItalia and this year marks a changing of the guard for the Movistar team but they have not totally discounted Valverdes chances.ADVERTISEMENT "Our leadership is clear: Nairo is the team's main reference on the road, said team manager Eusebio Unzu, when revealing the nine-rider line-up. However, and knowing how this race works and all the circumstances you can go through during a Tour de France, we can't rule out Alejandro staying by his side and also keeping his chances alive (which are the whole team's), until the facts show otherwise." Quintana has had an unassuming build-up to the Tour de France, finishing second to Alberto Contador at the Route du Sud earlier in June. He's had one stage race victory in 2015, finding success at Tirreno-Adriatico in March. Unlike many of his rivals, Quintana decided to take a look at the opening week's crucial pav under racing conditions. The Colombian rode both Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke, as Valverde did in 2014. With a key team time trial in the opening week, Movistar have opted for some strength against the clock, including three national time trial champions. Spanish and Italian champions Jonathan Castroviejo and Adriano Malori return to the race while British champion Alex Dowsett makes his Tour de France debut after being overlooked in 2014 when the Tour started in Yorkshire. Following his fourth time trial victory at the national championships, Dowsett was still in the dark about his participation and said that he believed his successful Hour Record attempt in May could hold him back. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Intxausti moves into second overall at Critrium du Dauphin
June 12, 2015 (05:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The climb to Pra Loup may have undone AlejandroValverde on stage 5 of the Critrium du Dauphin as the WorldTour leader conceeded 1:50 minutes to stage winner Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) but Movistar can judge the day success as Beat Intxaustifinished fourth and moved into second place overall. Intxausti's ride confirmed his stage winning Giro d'Italia form where he impressed in the high mountains, finishing 29th overall. "I went to this race after the Giro, looking forward to profit from the good form I had at the end. It was harder for me to get by body going on day one, but once you focus on the racing itself and forget about previous efforts, it's like any other one. Since we did physically well all over the Giro, it's been a bit easier. I'm getting stronger day by day and I hope to keep it going until Sunday,"Intxausti said.ADVERTISEMENT When Chris Froome attacked from a select group on the slopes of Pra Loup with less than 2km to race,Intxausti was the only rider to respond and try and bridge across to the 2013 Tour de France winner, explaining he had the 'ok' from team leader Valverde who was having an off day. "Sky set a strong pace already from the Allos climb, a very demanding ascent with its summit over 2,200m and impressive rhythm. The downhill where Bardet went also required some skills, wasn't easy at all. Sky drilled back from the foot of Pra Loup, pushing with three, four riders before Froome attacked," he said. "I tried to follow him and pushed with all I had. Before the start, we had already talked with the team about Alejandro and myself sharing leading duties, and Bala came to me during the Allos climb to tell me he wasn't really strong. He got back to me in Pra Loup to tell me he wasn't feeling great and I took advantage from our good position in the GC, following the TTT, which we now have to conserve." You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde remains top of WorldTour standings
May 04, 2015 (08:30) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
There were no changes to the individual, team and nation WorldTour standings following the conclusion of the Tour de Romandie, won by Katushas Ilnur Zakarin ahead of teammate Simon Spilak and Chris Froome (Team Sky), with Alejandro Valverde, Etixx-Quick Step and Spain all remaining top of the rankings. The top-five riders all remained unchanged after the Swiss stage race with Valverde (Movistar) on 338 points leading Richie Porte (Team Sky) by 35 points. Alexander Kristoff (237 points), John Degenkolb (232 points) and Joaquim Rodrguez (230 points) round out the top five.Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) now occupies sixth place, swapping places with Michal Kwiatkowski, after the Tour de Romandie while Nairo Quintana (eighth) and Rigoberto Uran (Tenth) also improved their standings.Zakarin's overall victory sees the Russian climb from 61st to 21st in the standings while Spilak improved from 25th to 13th to further boost Katusha's team tally. In the team standings, Etixx-Quick Step remains top with 835 points although its lead over Katusha has shrunk considerably after the Tour de Romandie. The Russian team move up two places on the standings with a haul of 828 points, over 100 more than third placed Team Sky on 723 points. Movistar (684 points) and BMC (411 points) round out the top five.ADVERTISEMENT IAM Cycling, Lotto-Jumbo and Cannondale-Garmin remain the only teams with less than 100 points after 14 WorldTour events. Spain continues to be a stand out leader in the nation standings with 807 points while Australia occupies second with 639 points after leading the standings from the Tour Down Under to La Flche Wallonne. Colombia holds onto third place with 547 points while France move up from seventh to fourth with 452 points, knocking the Netherlands down into fifth. Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany and Norway complete the top ten. The next WorldTour event is the first grand tour of the year, the Giro d'Italia, which starts on Saturday May 9 with a team time trial in San Lorenzo. The overall winner of the Giro will be awarded 170 points, 130 points for second and 100 points for third place. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Five conclusions from Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 28, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Evergreen Valverde In a spring in which three top stars of the established generation of Classics riders - Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) - have largely been sidelined by injuries, the fourth, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has continued to reign supreme. Now 35, and with eight Classics in his palmares, Valverde's third Flche Wallonne and third Lige-Bastogne-Lge wins may not yet mean he is rubbing shoulders with the very greatest Ardennes riders, but one or two more wins would make that a certainty. This year the Movistar leader pulled off the ninth Ardennes 'double' in history, but Valverde took his first in 2006, making him one of just two riders - and the first since Ferdi Kubler in 1952 - to have pulled off that particular achievement twice.ADVERTISEMENT Valverde is frequently slated for his lack of tactical acumen in the World Championships, where he has taken five medals - a record - but never won a gold. At Amstel, too, one of the biggest gaps in his palmares, there have been a succession of near-misses. But at Flche Wallonne his positioning on the Mur was as faultless as ever, and his setting of the exact pace needed to fend off the opposition before accelerating away was calculated to the last ounce of energy. And Lige, his recognition that he would have to take a risk and chase down Dani Moreno - effectively the moment he won the race - was carried out in equally accomplished style too. So, even with a new-style finish for Flche Wallonne like this year, and even when he starts the Lige-Bastogne-Lige knowing that his every move will be followed - Valverde's domination of the Belgian Ardennes shows no sign of ending. Yet. (AF) You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
News shorts: Valverde takes over WorldTour lead
April 28, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Valverde takes over WorldTour lead The victories in Lige-Bastogne-Lige and the Flche Wallonne have propelled Alejandro Valverde to the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings. The Movistar rider moved up from second, dropping former leader Richie Porte (Sky) to the runner-up position. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) remained as third and fourth, respectively. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) jumped from ninth to fifth.ADVERTISEMENT Etixx-QuickStep stayed the number one team, with Sky second. Movistar moved up to third, dropping Katusha to fourth, while BMC remained in fifth place. The change in individual rankings was reflected in the nation rankings, as Spain took over the top place, dropping Australia to second. They were followed by Colombia, Netherlands and Italy. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...

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