The first World Tour victory of the season is here. Alejandro Valverde closed on Sunday, in the hard climb to Jebel Hafeet, a great week at the Abu Dhabi Tour. He showed his ambition from the first day. Movistar Team tried to break the bunch in the flat stages and Valverde himself got time bonuses before the individual time trial on Saturday to take the start knowing the time of most of his rivals.
After a good performance in the ITT (9th place), the Murcian cyclist still had to recover seconds with cyclists like Rohan Dennis or Wilco Kelderman. Jebel Hafeet (10 km with slopes that reach the 11%) decided the GC this Sunday and Valverde has shown once again to be the strongest. He has attacked the first and then he has responded to the final jump of the Colombian Miguel Ángel López, who has been beaten by the Spanish in the finish line. In addition to the triumph of stage, he has achieved the first place in the GC raising to five the triumphs of this season.
Statements: “I’m super happy with this victory. Before anything, I just want to thank the whole team for their phenomenal work all week, keeping me well protected leading up to the weekend and today’s climb, so I just had to push when it was needed. We were able to get through Saturday’s time trial in a good position and it was all about going for the win today. This stage was one to keep extreme attention at, on difficult terrain because of the strong winds and that bit of rain which made roads more slippery. Astana did not hesitate to help López out after showing great form in Oman – we knew he was going to be a big contender and it was even more obvious after they started pushing from so far from the end. Midway through the ascent I chose to try and go alone, but I was caught, and later on he tried to make his move – in that situation and considering the rivals we were facing, it was all about finding the spot from which we could go all in, try to bring him back and do our best to win the stage.”
Statements: Movistar Team