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“I’m really happy. It was a phenomenal TT for me. This very morning, my legs were feeling great over the course and I decided to go for it in the afternoon, on full steam, to see what I could achieve."

Photo: Unipublic

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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NAIRO QUINTANA

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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09.09.2015 @ 22:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Movistar Team got back to the fight for the podium in the Vuelta a España as the race remains tight with only four days before the final sprint in Madrid. A brilliant time trial, above all expectations, by Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana on the 37.8-kilometer course in and around Burgos - with brief rainy spells and small climbs, yet really fast - took them within two minutes’ of the race’s top-three overall and anticipated a hectic finale after new leader Tom Dumoulin (TGA), winner of the TT, is only 3” ahead of second-placed Fabio Aru (AST).

 

Always climbing up the ranks after already a good first section - with Valverde in 7th, Quintana in 15th after 13km of slight climbing - the two Blues completed a magnificent second part to become the strongest within the top ten overall, after Dumoulin, and finish third and sixth in the stage, which takes them up to 5th - Quintana, 2’53” down - and 6th - Valverde, 3’15” down - with three mountainous stages ahead. Thursday will bring 204km from Roa to Riaza, including La Quesera (Cat-1) just 13km from the finish; Friday will see Ávila and its characteristic climbs in the Sierra de Gredos; and Saturday will round things up, with four rated climbs before going down to Cercedilla.

 

“I’m really happy. It was a phenomenal TT for me. This very morning, my legs were feeling great over the course and I decided to go for it in the afternoon, on full steam, to see what I could achieve," Valverde said. "It was a demanding route, but I suffered more and have had harder TTs during my career. Winds were slightly ‘better’ halfway through the race, not exaggerated, just like in the beginning.

 

"The normal thing was having Dumoulin going faster than me, but it really was better than I expected. I never stop fighting: I always give my very best from the start of a training ride to the end of a race. The GC podium is not decided yet, there’s still some Vuelta left and obviously our rivals will be strong, but I’m not doing bad either at the moment. We expected Dumoulin to clock a very good time."

 

“I don’t know if I’m already at 100% condition, but I feel way more recovered and in good spirits after this TT," Quintana said. "I kept the pace well through the opening one and went even better over the second. I was feeling the winds were affecting me more in the beginning, and also in a 2km stretch near the finish, which made it harder for me to keep rolling, but I always kept focus, and the team was helping me much with difficult turns and all data I needed to give my maximum.

 

"Fighting for the race podium? Surely, we’ll try; we’re not losing anything if we try and we must attempt to end this Vuelta on a high note.”

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