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"Dumoulin is feeling really strong, he’s able to resist Aru’s moves and is one of the strongest in the peloton at the moment. The podium is becoming difficult for us, but I won’t settle - we will keep on trying.”

Photo: Sirotti

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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10.09.2015 @ 19:44 Posted by Andy Pedersen

They got back into the fight to improve their overall result and, even though they didn’t today, they inadvertently took sort of a reward and felt like leaders again. The Movistar Team is now three days away from repeating in Cibeles their Paris podium as best squad in a Grand Tour, as they took the lead in the Vuelta ranking. With almost 6 minutes over Sky, after three of its riders, breakaway member José Joaquín Rojas plus GC contenders Quintana and Valverde, finished in the main group in Riaza’s finish, following a long (204 km), hard stage from Roa.

 

It wasn’t an easy ride for neither Rojas, part of a 25-man move formed after a tremendously fast, opening 60km, nor Quintana and Valverde, involved in a flurry of attacks during the final 35 kilometers, which the Spanish road race champion provoked mostly during the La Quesera climb (Cat-1). However, extreme control from the race favorites, despite the lumpy terrain, with rough roads and some crosswinds, prevented any gaps and kept the Blues in fifth and sixth overall. Valverde is also now two points (116 vs. 114) behind the lead in the Points jersey.

 

Friday will bring another hard route on stage 19: 185.8km from Medina del Campo to Ávila, over the ascents of Valdavia (Cat-3), La Paramera (Cat-2) and the finish on the famous Walls of the city.

 

“There was no way - we tried it but we couldn’t," Valverde said. "To be honest, Astana did some efforts and it was needed for them too; you’ve got to test the leader’s legs, and we all did, but you could see Dumoulin is feeling really strong, he’s able to resist Aru’s moves and is one of the strongest in the peloton at the moment. The podium is becoming difficult for us, but I won’t settle - we will keep on trying.”

 

“We decided to try some moves and seek for the podium, after the moral boost following our recovery in the TT," Quintana said. "We rested well on Tuesday, prepared ourselves for the challenge - we were on sort of a low after the hard days we had gone through - and, while Alejandro is a specialist, I had one of those days where I perform well on such a course and we both improved our GC positions. Now our goal is to bring the fans, the people watching on TV, the team fans some happiness. That’s why Alejandro tried a little, I did on the descent… and we will continue so until the end of the Vuelta.

 

“I don’t know if we will be the key for the podium - there were too many interests from other teams to chase every move. Still, on days like today you enjoy when you’re recovered, you feel great when it’s hard and hope for the others to suffer, even though you only pray for the ‘attacks to stop when it’s the opposite, just like when I was ill.

 

"Tomorrow? We’ll react depending on the race situation, something you can’t easily predict.”

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