Alejandro Valverde, from the Movistar team, this Saturday in Estella.Inaki Porto / EFE
Everyone was happy. He was putting on his tracksuit jacket, helped by El Guaje , Juan Carlos Escámez, his trusted man, when Luisle Sánchez approached and gave him a hug; later he received another from Pello Bilbao, and the third from Omar Fraile, a bright smile. The three rivals; All three road shakes by veteran genius. Three weeks after turning 41, Alejandro Valverde won again. It is already spring for the Murcian. He had not been on the winners' podium for a long time, a drought that was attributed to the ravages caused by age, an inexorable judge of elite athletes.
But in the Volta a sparkling Valverde was seen again and ratified it in the territory of his team, the Miguel Indurain Grand Prix , in Estella. It also quelled the thirst of Movistar, which had not yet achieved any victory since the season began with its faltering leaders. He also made us forget the bad taste left by the fall of his teammate Enric Mas, midway through the race, who preferred to retire to preserve his presence in the Tour of the Basque Country that begins on Monday.
Sagan wins in the Volta a Catalunya and does happy to Valverde The Alejandro Valverde who does not stop triumphs in Estella
Valverde won in a big way, as he likes, as everyone likes, of course, dominating the final kilometers, imperial in his pedaling, when there were twelve of the 202 kilometers of the The race and the other strongmen in the peloton were punished enough by the pace of their team. He attacked at the right time, climbing to Eraun, the scene of battle in the Carlist wars, in the shadow of the rocks of San Fausto. His countryman Luis León Sánchez circulated in front of him, with precarious differences, unable to completely disengage Swift, Hermans and Cepeda. He accelerated the Movistar and separated the dust from the straw. When Valverde rehearsed his first movement, there were those who could stick to his wheel; in the second, already in the cement streets of Eraun, no one kept up the pace.
caught up with Luisle, but the problem was not his veteran colleague, but his team, Astana, who were working behind to dispute the victory. The two Murcians rode together for several kilometers until they were joined by Aletsey Lutsenko. Two from Astana against Valverde. The Kazakh left on the descent to Estella, but Valverde always has one bullet left. Together the three again, they faced the final slope and the attack of the 41-year-old cyclist, on the 15% ramps, was relentless. When he reached the top, with a kilometer and a half to reach the goal of Avenida de la Inmaculada, he was already the virtual winner. His third triumph in the Navarrese race, the return to the podium after a blank 2020. "Let's see if the good weather continues in the Basque Country," he said. There the storms will be triggered by Pogacar and Roglic.
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