Alejandro Valverde thanks fans for keeping him informed after radio malfunction in Vuelta a España stage 20
Sep 15 2019 03:19 am CET

Alejandro Valverde thanks fans for keeping him informed after radio malfunction in Vuelta a España stage 20
Alejandro Valverde thanks fans for keeping him informed after radio malfunction in Vuelta a España stage 20
Photo of Alejandro Valverde by Jonathan Roorda / CyclingPub.com

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) successfully defended his second overall place in the Vuelta a España by finishing the 20th stage in the second position.

The World Champion and his team did everything they could to try to defend the podium positions of Valverde and Nairo Quintana. The duo was in the favourites' group for most of the race but the latest attacks that went on to chase the winner of the stage Tadej Pogacar left Quintana behind and made him lose time that cost him the third overall position.

Despite having trouble with the team radio communication, Valverde managed to cross the finish line on time to avoid to lose the second place to Pogacar -who at the end climbed to the third GC position. "I’m really satisfied with this Vuelta," he explained. "I didn’t even dare to dream about a second-place overall before the start of the race; maybe just about winning a stage, but never to get onto the podium. It was a difficult finale for me, because of the hard slopes, the weather and also because I didn’t have any time references in the end.

"The rainy conditions sort of broke my radio, I couldn’t hear it loud, and when I tried to fix it I might have changed the channel I was using and couldn’t hear anything, so I didn’t have any time gaps. Thanks to our team, which did a phenomenal effort, I only had to go ‘full gas’ on the slopes near the finish to keep that second place. The fans on the road were yelling to me Pogacar was about two minutes ahead, they told me I had to push hard, and so after I heard that and after those bonus seconds in the sprint, my goal was limiting those losses.

Valverde explained the lack of cooperation with Astana and also talked about the defence of his rainbow jersey in Yorkshire. “I wasn’t really feeling calm into that final pursuit. However, Pedrero and Soler gave everything to keep Pogacar as close as possible and my job only started at the final climb. Astana launched some attacks, but they never kept a steady pace nor helped us, despite the fact that they were losing all the prizes they had. But it’s normal – everyone does its own race.

"I think I’ll be in good condition at the World Championships. We’ll have a very strong team, we’re getting together in Alicante next week and so I hope to enjoy some good days with my teammates before travelling to Yorkshire. We’ve got to be realistic: it will be more of an open race, and our chances will be smaller than in Austria."






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