Vuelta a España - Alejandro Valverde: Nairo and me are within the top 4 GC contenders
Aug 31 2019 05:01 am CET

Vuelta a España - Alejandro Valverde: Nairo and me are within the top 4 GC contenders
Vuelta a España - Alejandro Valverde: Nairo and me are within the top 4 GC contenders
Photo of Alejandro Valverde © Mary Cárdenas /

Movistar's Alejandro Valverde was the first rider to cross the finish line at the ascent of Más de la Costa in the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España.

One day after Movistar took the decision that Valverde was set to be the GC leader of the formation, the rider conquered the final climb of the sixth stage of the race. The World champion managed to stay at Nairo Quintana's wheel when he attacked in the closing kilometres of the stage, and launched his own attack in the last kilometre, crossing the finish line ahead of Primoz Roglic.

"I’m so, so happy," Valverde said. "This season has already been good to me, always up there within the best, but taking a stage like this one in La Vuelta, with such a strong competition – it really makes me happy. I want to thank all of my teammates for the huge gamble they made on us for the win, and Nairo in particular, because he rode brilliantly over the last climb. He tried to distance Roglic and López with his attacks but seeing they were able to match him, he set a steady pace so I could go for the victory later on.

"I was confident, I knew I was doing well, and the worst result I could have got was fourth (laughs). I just tried to keep the moves under control, and I knew I was the fastest of the three, so I remained calm until the end. It’s still a long way to go in this Vuelta, but for the time being, it seems like we two, Nairo and myself, are within the top four contenders for the GC win at this specific point."

The rider already took the overall victory of the Vuelta a España in 2009 and he doesn't rule out the idea of repeating this deed. "Aiming to win this? Of course, it would be incredible to take the victory, 10 years after my first one, but I must remain realistic. We’ve got two stage wins at the moment, one by Nairo and one by myself, we’re up there in the GC – we can’t really ask for more at this point. What there isn’t is a single problem between us.

"Nairo said he wants me to be the team leader, but I think he must not rule himself out of contention at all. He’s doing really well, and he’s talented enough to aim for this victory. At Javalambre on Wednesday, there was some controversy from Colombia about me pulling Roglic, but the thing is, if I didn’t have López riding away from us, I wouldn’t have ridden that way. I couldn’t lose time against him since he’s so dangerous. Roglic has proven to be really strong, too, and he should be the best of us four at the ITT, but anything can happen."




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