Cycling News


Alejandro Valverde retakes overall lead of Tour of Catalonia
March 24, 2017 (21:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
TORTOSA, Spain (AP) " Alejandro Valverde defeated Chris Froome and Alberto Contador to win the decisive fifth stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Friday and take the overall lead going into the weekend.Valverde won after dominating... More...
Van Garderen leads Tour of Catalonia; Valverde penalized
March 22, 2017 (21:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
LA MOLINA, Spain (AP) " Alejandro Valverde won the third stage of the Tour of Catalonia but lost the overall lead to American rider Tejay van Garderen after the Spaniard's Movistar team was penalized on Wednesday.Valverde beat Daniel... More...
Alejandro Valverde takes Tour of Catalonia lead
March 21, 2017 (21:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
BANYOLES, Spain (AP) " Alejandro Valverde took the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia on Tuesday after fellow Movistar rider Jose Joaquin Rojas was penalized for helping teammates during the team time trial.Movistar set the best... More...
Contador still in GC hunt but 'a long way off' top rivals after Catalunya TTT
March 21, 2017 (21:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alberto Contador has his work cut out for him at the Volta a Catalunya this week after Tuesday's unusually long stage 2 team time trial. Trek-Segafredo finished fourth on the day, 1:15 down on the stage-winning Movistar squad. It was a solid ride, but that's a hefty deficit to make up on the likes of Alejandro Valverde in a one-week race. "I am happy, we have given everything, we have been quite well-organised and we did a good TTT, but we are a long way off our most important rivals," Contador said. "Valverde is 1:15 ahead, which is a lot. Now we have to look at the upcoming stages, starting with La Molina, which is not very hard as an ascent and where there may well be no big differences. Perhaps the time bonuses will be the most important time gaps."ADVERTISEMENT Valverde isn't the only rider standing in Contador's way, as stage 2 runner-up BMC Racing and third-placed Team Sky both have contenders for the overall victory. "The race has got more complicated because van Garderen and Sky with Froome and Thomas are all ahead," Contador said. "So we'll have to see what we can do." Nevertheless, Contador is not throwing in the towel just yet, and he sees openings in the days to come, particularly given the way recent editions of the race have played out. The Spaniard was second to Movistar's Nairo Quintana last year by just seven seconds. You can read more at More...
Vuelta a Espana: Valverde out of GC battle after losing ten minutes
September 04, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alejandro Valverde's chances of becoming the first rider in over half a century and third in history to take top ten GC finishes in all three Grand Tours took a near-definitive blow on Saturday when the Movistar rider lost over ten minutes on Saturday's queen stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana. Valverde slid off back of the group of favourites ten kilometres from the top of the Aubisque and proceeded to shed time steadily all the way to the summit. Previously third overall, Valverde has therefore disappeared from the provisional podium with a bang, slumping to 19th on GC. "It was not a good day, I couldn't hold on when the group went strongly," Valverde said afterwards.ADVERTISEMENT Although Quintana started the Spanish Grand Tour as Movistar's leader, after his third in the Giro d'Italia and sixth in the Tour de France, his teammate Valverde had been looking for a top result in the Vuelta. But as he said afterwards, there has come a point where even the seemingly evergreen Valverde can no longer keep on keeping on. "Really I've run out of strength, it wasn't just a bad day," said Valverde, who won the Vuelta outright in 2009."From now on I'll have to continue working for Nairo as a leader, and that's going to be it from hereon in the Vuelta." Despite Valverde's tenacious defence of his overall position, and two very strong rides on the Alto de la Camperona and Lagos de Covadonga there came a point when it proved impossble for the Spaniard to hold on to the GC position. You can read more at More...
Movistar unconcerned with losing Vuelta a Espana lead
August 28, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Recent Vuelta a Espaa history replayed itself on stage 9 of the race as Movistar once again lost the overall lead, for the second time in less a week - and once again minimized the importance of ceding the top spot overall. In what was effectively a re-run of the stage 4 scenario to San Andres de Texeiro that saw breakaway Darwin Atapuma (BMC) take over the lead from Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), five days later David De La Cruz (Etixx-Quick Step) gained enough time in a break to a summit finish to oust Movistar's Nairo Quintana from the top spot overall. Strengthening the comparison, just like in San Andres de Texeiro, the favourites powered up the final ascent of Naranco at speed, but grouped without any significant attempts to blast out of the pack. Just like on the Galician climb, there was even, once again, a solid attempt by Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) to break out of the pack, presumably once again to put pressure on Movistar.ADVERTISEMENT But the end result was exactly the same: Movistar losing the lead with the clear expectation that it would return to the Spanish team's clutches in the not-too-distant future and all the top favourites crossing the line together. The only difference, perhaps, was rather than a Colombian taking the jersey away from a Spaniard as happened with Fernandez and Atapuma, this time the roles were reversed and a Spaniard removed the lead from a Colombian. "Losing the jersey is not a problem at all," Alejandro Valverde, third overall, said afterwards. "You could even say we wanted it given how the race played out." Indeed, Movistar tapped out a solid rhythm behind that kept the gap at five minutes rather than the eight new leader David De La Cruz said he had hoped for, but there was never a ferocious acceleration by the men in dark blue of the type that could have seen the gap come down quicker. You can read more at More...
Movistar's Tour de France squad coming together
June 03, 2016 (06:00) [ Indexed from ]
The Movistar team is deciding on the eight riders who will support Nairo Quintana in his bid to win the Tour de France. Biciciclismo reports that they have settled on a ten-man long team. The final list will emerge after the Critrium du Dauphin and Tour de Suisse. Third overall in the Giro d'Italia, Alejandro Valverde has pledged to fully support Quintana in July. "We will go to the Tour in order to support Nairo Quintana. I want to make it clear, from this very moment, that I will be losing time on the first week and take things easier so I can help Nairo out and give my best in the mountains," Valverde said. "Also, if it's possible and it doesn't compromise the team's goals, I'd like to chase some stage wins or make it into the break and help the team from there. Our motto for the Tour remains the #SueoAmarillo (yellow dream), winning the Tour with Nairo at last."ADVERTISEMENT In addition to Quintana and Valverde, Winner Anacona, who supported Quintana in his 2014 Giro d'Italia victory, is likely to be on the start line. So too is Andrey Amador, who enjoyed one day in the maglia rosa in the Giro d'Italia and finished eighth overall. Other candidates include Jonathan Castroviejo, Imanol Erviti, Jess Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, Daniel Moreno and Francesco Ventoso. Not in the list is Briton Alex Dowsett and Adriano Malori, who supported the team in last year's Tour de France, nor Carlos Betancur. You can read more at More...
Kruijswijk reinforces Giro overall lead, Valverde wins stage
May 24, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
ANDALO, Italy (AP) " Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk strengthened his grip on the pink jersey by finishing second to Alejandro Valverde on the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday.Pre-race favorite Vincenzo Nibali had another... More...
Giro d'Italia: Kruijswijk wastes no time in defence of the pink jersey
May 24, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Stage winner Alejandro Valverde suggested that Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) was going to win the Giro d'Italia thanks to his strength and know how, and the Dutchman seems to have learnt quickly from other Grand Tour winners by keeping his time at the post-race press conference to a minimum after the finish in Andalo. As race leader, Kruijswijk has to do live 'flash' television interviews, climb on the podium to collect the maglia rosa, do further interviews for Eurosport and Italian television, speak to radio and non-rights holder television and often go to anti-doping, all before heading to the press centre to attend a final press conference reserved for the written press. The whole process can take up an hour, which cuts into the limited recovery time after each stage. Despite the intense 132km of racing to Andalo, where Kruijswijk was isolated and came under attack, he always looked in control and was able to surge to the finish with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and perhaps even gift him the stage victory. It was a show of strength and patronage. As Nibali cracked and lost more time and with Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) on the back foot all day, Kruijswijk seemed to take total control of the Giro d'Italia.ADVERTISEMENT He even looked fresh and well recovered when he finally sat down in the press conference, responding questions with the same ease that he had responded to the many attacks from his rivals during the stage. His confidence also seems to be growing as his overall lead extends to three minutes. "I'm in first so maybe he (Valverde) is right, but you can never underestimate you rivals," he said. "Maybe it looked I was in control but there was a lot of attack on the first climb. I saw it coming because Movistar set the pace early on. But I knew the guys I had to watch and so reacted quickly on the attacks and knew that if I followed them and if we attacked together, there wouldn't be many riders up there. It was a good situation to be in. I felt good today." Giro d'Italia: Valverde takes comfort from stage win and podium spot Giro d'Italia stage 16 highlights - video Giro d'Italia stage 16 - Finish line quotes Giro d'Italia: Valverde wins intense stage to Andalo Video Highlights You can read more at More...
Giro d'Italia: Valverde takes comfort from stage win and podium spot
May 24, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) celebrated his first ever stage victory at the Giro d'Italia with gusto in Andalo, insisting his debut in the Corsa Rosa has been a success despite now only fighting for a place on the podium rather than overall victory. Valverde hugged his soigneur and lifted his bike in the air after beating Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) in an intense sprint to the line after an equally intense and aggressively raced stage 16 that saw Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and especially Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) lose time in the battle for places on the podium. Valverde gained 42 seconds on the Colombian and 1:47 on the struggling Sicilian to jump above him into third overall. Valverde is 3:23 down on Kruijswijk but only 23 seconds down on Chaves.ADVERTISEMENT "I had two big goals before the race: to win a stage and secure a place on the podium. Now we got one and we're there for the other one," Valverde argued. "There are still two big stages to come and I'm happy how my Giro is going. The team is strong and now were even first in team competition, too. I'm enjoying the Giro and I now regret not coming before. Now I'm happy to be here." Valverde had promised to be aggressive on the short but mountainous stage from Bressanone to Andalo and his Movistar team pushed the pace before the Passo della Mendola at the halfway point. Valverde made several attacks and ensured he was in the select front group that later distanced Nibali and ensured that Chaves never caught them. Video Highlights You can read more at More...
Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne for record 4th time
April 20, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
HUY, Belgium (AP) " Alejandro Valverde of Spain became the first rider to win the Fleche Wallonne four times after racing to a third straight title Wednesday.Spanish rider Joaquin Rodriguez was the first to attack during the brutal... More...
Valverde moves into class of his own with fourth La Flche Wallonne victory
April 20, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ultimately, a devastatingly powerful single uphill acceleration less than 100 metres from the finish line and just a few seconds long on Wednesday proved enough to secure Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) his record-breaking fourth victory in the Flche Wallonne. But, longer-term, Valverdes record itself has been 10 years in the making and places the Movistar rider ahead of figures as important as Eddy Merckx in cyclings history books. Along with the Spaniard, Moreno Argentin, Merckx, Marcel Kint and Davide Rebellin all had previously taken hat-tricks of Flche Wallonne victories. Kint, too, also captured three straight wins in the race in 1943, 1944 and 1945, just like Valverde in 2014, 2015 and now 2016. But with a fourth victory in 2006 also in his palmares, Valverde now stands alone as the record-holder in the 81-year-old history of the Fleche Wallonne. At the finish lines, there were congratulatory hugs for Valverde both from Samuel Snchez (BMC Racing), sixth on the day, and retired rider Erik Zabel before the Spaniard climbed onto the winners podium to celebrate both his personal record and Spains fifth consecutive win in the mid-week Classic.ADVERTISEMENT The truth is that its incredible, to be in the history books of Fleche Wallonne is a real honour. I knew that I felt good beforehand, but in a race circumstances can change very fast, so Im very pleased, Valverde said later. But both on an individual and a team level, Valverde and Movistar might have had the pressure of being the favourites, but they were more than up to the task of handling it. After Movistar did the lions share of the work to chase down the day-long break of 10, Valverdes team-mate Rory Sutherland notably powered up the pace on the third last climb to try to keep the race under control, then Giovanni Visconti and then Ion Izaguirre covered the late attacks before Movistar made one last collective drive for the foot of the Mur. Valverde was in perfect position right from the start of the climb, riding at the front of the fast-disintegrating bunch, next to Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) in the centre of the route. His biggest fear he said afterwards, that he might be closed in. Valverde then raised the pressure slightly by moving a little ahead onto the right side of the road at the steepest S bend section, something he said later was crucial to his final success. You can read more at More...
Can Valverde make history in La Fleche Wallonne?
April 18, 2016 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Quintana undecided on Vuelta a Espana participation
July 31, 2015 (13:00) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Valverde and Rodriguez to face off at Clsica San Sebastin
July 31, 2015 (03:30) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Bahamontes: Valverde should try to win the Tour de France in 2016
July 30, 2015 (04:15) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Movistar's willingness to risk comes too late for Tour de France glory
July 28, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Nibali: Ive never seen Valverde so strong
July 24, 2015 (15:30) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Tour de France: Battle for top 10 heats up
July 24, 2015 (15:30) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...
Tour de France: Valverde third on GC after unexpected twists
July 23, 2015 (15:45) [ Indexed from ]
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 More...

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