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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...
Shorts: Valverde takes over WorldTour lead
April 27, 2015 (15:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The victories in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Fleche 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. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) jumped from ninth to fifth. 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.ADVERTISEMENT 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. Kwiatkowski would like to stay with Etixx-QuickStep World champion Michal Kwiatkowski has signaled that he would like to stay with Etixx-QuickStep after his contract expires the end of this season. Teammates Zdenek Stybar and young sensation Julien Alaphillipe also indicated their willingness to re-sign with the Belgian team. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde times sprint perfectly to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege (The Associated Press)
April 27, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for the third time in his career on Sunday, clinching the Ardennes double after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow. The 35-year-old Spaniard waited until 500 meters (yards) from the line to chase down countryman Dani Moreno. After overtaking Moreno, Valverde then held off a challenge from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe - who also finished second behind him in Wednesday's Walloon Arrow. A handful of riders have won it three times and only Belgian great Eddy Merckx has won it more with five. More...
Cycling-Valverde completes stunning Ardennes campaign in Liege (Reuters)
April 27, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds details, quotes, changes dateline) By Julien Pretot ANS, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde wrapped up a remarkable Ardennes classics season when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, four days after triumphing on the Fleche Wallonne. The Movistar rider, who finished second in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, outsprinted a reduced group of top guns at the end of a hilly 253-kilometre ride. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. More...
Cycling-Spain's Valverde wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic (Reuters)
April 27, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
LIEGE, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar team won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic, a 253-km ride on Sunday. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer) More...
Valverde claims hat-trick of victories in Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 27, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alejandro Valverde shrugged off the pressure of his status as outstanding pre-race favourite to claim his third triumph in a decade at Lige-Bastogne-Lige on Sunday. And just like last Wednesdays win at Flche Wallone, the Spanish veteran made no errors whatsoever en route to the sixth Ardennes Classics victory of his career. Throughout the 253-kilometre race, Valverde and Movistar played a very calculating game, knowing that with one Ardennes victory already in the bag, the pressure was on his rivals. First Europcar, then Astana and finally Katusha and Etixx-QuickStep laid down much of the pace on the front, with Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) doing the spadework to reel in a dangerous late break with Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) as the race hit the foot of the Cte de Saint-Nicolas. Equally, Valverde himself refused to let himself be drawn into any of the battles on the Roche-aux-Faucons or the Saint-Nicolas. Instead, the Spanish veteran conserved as much energy as possible and shadowed the most dangerous moves. Even when Valverde was handed, as top favourite, the responsibility of heading the bunch on the final climb to Ans, his pace was nowhere near as sustained as on when he shut down the attacks on the first three-quarters of the Mur de Huy on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT That tactic had certain inherent risks, as Dani Moreno (Katusha) showed when he burst clear in the last kilometre. But as the 35-year-old Valverde said later, keeping a cool head and calculating his distance " 600 metres " allowed me to get back up to Dani again. And I always kept a little bit of strength back [a little bullet, as Valverde called it in Spanish] so I could go for it in the sprint afterwards. That was a really hard moment, I suffered a lot to get back to Moreno. But I knew I had to get him. Everybody had placed the responsibility for controlling the race on my shoulders, but I knew what I was going to have to do to win. I started as the big favourite, I knew all the other guys were watching me, but I knew that I could do something just the same. Second in Amstel, first in Flche, first in Liege, its been an amazing week. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde times sprint perfectly to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege
April 26, 2015 (18:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
LIEGE, Belgium (AP) " Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for the third time in his career on Sunday, clinching the Ardennes double after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow.The... More...
Cycling-Valverde completes stunning Ardennes campaign in Liege (Reuters)
April 26, 2015 (17:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds details, quotes, changes dateline) By Julien Pretot ANS, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde wrapped up a remarkable Ardennes classics season when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, four days after triumphing on the Fleche Wallonne. The Movistar rider, who finished second in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, outsprinted a reduced group of top guns at the end of a hilly 253-kilometre ride. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. More...
Valverde times sprint perfectly to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege (The Associated Press)
April 26, 2015 (17:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
LIEGE, Belgium (AP) -- Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for the third time in his career on Sunday, clinching the Ardennes double after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow. More...
Cycling-Spain's Valverde wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic (Reuters)
April 26, 2015 (17:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
LIEGE, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar team won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic, a 253-km ride on Sunday. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer) More...
Kwiatkowski tips Valverde as the big favourite for Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 26, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The pre-race mind games have begun with the Lige-Bastogne-Lige favourites trying to deflect the pressure onto one of their rivals. Despite having won Amstel Gold, seen as a mini-Lige, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) believes that Movistars Alejandro Valverde goes into this Sundays race with the competitive edge. Hes the most experienced rider, he knows how to prepare for such a hard week, Kwiatkowski told reporters. I would have loved to be in shape on Wednesday but I couldnt make it and thats experience I needed for the future. Valverde already has that and I think that he will be in the same big shape on Sunday. Kwiatkowski had a disappointing Flche Wallonne earlier in the week, slipping off the bunch on the steepest part of the Mur de Huy and finally finishing 38 seconds behind the winner Valverde. Fortunately for Etixx-QuickStep, his teammate Julian Alaphilippe was able to step up to the plate and deliver the team a second place. With time to regroup since then, Kwiatkowski is happy that hes where he needs to be for Sundays race.ADVERTISEMENT I feel more relaxed than compared to the day after the Amstel Gold Race, so I should be better, he explained. I feel more and more freshness on the bike, so thats better. I hope that its enough for such a long race because you need to be in condition. I think Ive had enough recovery before Lige. Kwiatkowski finished third at last years race, losing out in the sprint to Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Valverde. The new route is expected to be more selective this year but the Polish rider doesnt think that it will change too much in the grand scheme of things. The pace was pretty high last year and we had a pretty big group for the final, he said. It depends what the plan of the biggest favourite, Valverde, is... and if they want to control it so that they have a sprint then its going to be a bigger group. For sure, guys like Nibali want to play before because they cannot really count on their sprint. I am one of the riders who can count on their sprint so Ill be waiting for the final. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde says pressure is on rivals ahead of Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 26, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) may be everybodys favourite for Lige-Bastogne-Lige, but the Spanish veteran is adamant that with a podium finish in Amstel Gold Race and a victory in Flche Wallonne, the pressure on him to take a victory at Lige-Bastogne-Lige is considerably lower than for his rivals. I dont have that kind of stress considering what Ive already done this week, Valverde told Cyclingnews. So the pressure on them is a lot higher, not on me. Third in 2013, second in 2014, a third Lige-Bastogne-Lige victory seems on the cards for Valverde, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Saturday. But as a rider as experienced as Valverde knows, two and two dont always make four in cycling.ADVERTISEMENT Well, well see, he responded cautiously to the idea that mathematical logic indicates he should win. This is a very hard, complicated race and even if Im the favourite, its never easy to win here. Movistar checked out the last 65 kilometres of the route on Friday, including the two climbs, the Rosier and Maquisard, re-introduced between the Haut Levee and la Redoute. Theyve changed it a bit, its not a huge change, Valverde said. So well just have to see how things go tomorrow. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...

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