Alejandro Valverde makes successful return by winning opening stage of Route d'Occitanie
Jun 21 2019 05:08 am CET

Alejandro Valverde makes successful return by winning opening stage of Route d'Occitanie
Alejandro Valverde makes successful return by winning opening stage of Route d'Occitanie
Photo of Alejandro Valverde © Mary Cárdenas / CyclingPub.com

Alejandro Valverde has shown to be completely recovered by taking the victory of the first stage of the Route d'Occitanie. The rider of Movistar also finished the day as the overall leader of the race.

The World Champion has successfully returned to competition, 53 days after he had to retire from Liege-Bastogne-Liege as a consequence of bone oedema that he suffered in a crash a few days before. The rider has worked hard to recover on time for the Tour de France and has shown his strength in the first stage of the French race.

Movistar controlled the pace of the pack the entire course and the rider used his experience to sprint on time to take the day's victory and the leader's jersey. "Being the first day of racing after so long away from the races, it’s tough to tackle a first stage like this, because you don’t know how your body will react," he explained. "Fortunately, it all turned out well.

"The team did a fantastic job today. We took responsibility from the beginning, together with Education First, and at the first climb to Aubignac, I already asked my team-mates to do it a bit ‘fast’, to check how we could do. My legs felt well there, I liked the climb, and so I asked them to go ‘full gas’ on the second climb. After they completed their work, it was my task to keep things under control. My rivals left me in charge, which was normal, I could understand it from my position. The attacks by Urán and Dunbar were really hard, yet I could control them and take the win."




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