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"You get into such a finish, you are usually tired before the slopes start picking up and you only try to get the smallest gear combination, but contrary to that, I ended up strong after such a bad position in the beginning of the clim...

Photo: Sirotti






17.04.2013 @ 19:54 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was not able to take another podium spot in today's Fleche Wallonne after his second place in the Amstel Gold Race. After strong work by his Movistar team all day, the Spaniard started the final climb of the Mur de Huy in a bad position and lost all victory chances.


Every rider knows that one of the most important factors in the Fleche Wallonne is the battle for position in the run-in to the final climb of the steep Mur de Huy. If you are not among the first riders to enter the slopes, you are severely disadvantages as it is almost impossible to pass the numerous fading riders on the narrow roads.


One rider to lose out in that battle was one of the races pre-race favourites Alejandro Valverde. The Spaniard won the race in 2006 and his explosive nature makes him a formidable contender in a finish like the one in Huy but today his bad position meant that he was never in contention. Nonetheless, he passed plenty of riders on the final climb and managed to take 7th.


Afterwards, the Spaniard was disappointed to be unable to deliver the goods in one of his favourite races.


"I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't fight for the victory today because it's such a wonderful race, but I'm happy with how I felt," he said. "This is a very particular finish, with a slight descent at the end and lots of riders willing to take the front. You get into such a finish, you are usually tired before the slopes start picking up and you only try to get the smallest gear combination, but contrary to that, I ended up strong after such a bad position in the beginning of the climb."


Throughout the day, his Movistar team was seen doing plenty of pace-making in the peloton and shared the brunt of the work with the BMC team of world champion Philippe Gilbert. Angel Madrazo, Imanol Erviti and Pablo Lastras all took huge turns on the front to minimize the gaps to the day's breakaways.


The main reason for the hard work was to keep the captain in a good position throughout the day.


"I felt comfortable all day and the team was superb," he said. "It's better to ride at the front in these races, with so many bumps, crossings... it's dangerous and you save more energy at the front than in the back. That's why we were always pushing today."


Valverde now turns his attention to his favourite among the Ardennes classics: Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The longer climbs suit the Spaniard who won both the 2006 and 2008 editions.


This year he hopes to take a third victory and he is encouraged by his performances in the first two races.


" I already said my mind is on Liège this Sunday," he explained. "It suits me really well and I hope to fight for the win. Rivals? Some riders were at the front on Sunday, some others were today... there are eight or nine names that could well fight for it on Sunday. We'll see how it goes."


On Sunday, you can follow all the action from the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on



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