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Shorts: Valverde takes over WorldTour lead
April 27, 2015 (15:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The victories in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Fleche Wallonne have propelled Alejandro Valverde to the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings. The Movistar rider moved up from second, dropping former leader Richie Porte (Sky) to the runner-up position. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) remained as third and fourth, respectively. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) jumped from ninth to fifth. Etixx-QuickStep stayed the number one team, with Sky second. Movistar moved up to third, dropping Katusha to fourth, while BMC remained in fifth place.ADVERTISEMENT The change in individual rankings was reflected in the nation rankings, as Spain took over the top place, dropping Australia to second. They were followed by Colombia, Netherlands and Italy. Kwiatkowski would like to stay with Etixx-QuickStep World champion Michal Kwiatkowski has signaled that he would like to stay with Etixx-QuickStep after his contract expires the end of this season. Teammates Zdenek Stybar and young sensation Julien Alaphillipe also indicated their willingness to re-sign with the Belgian team. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde times sprint perfectly to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege (The Associated Press)
April 27, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for the third time in his career on Sunday, clinching the Ardennes double after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow. The 35-year-old Spaniard waited until 500 meters (yards) from the line to chase down countryman Dani Moreno. After overtaking Moreno, Valverde then held off a challenge from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe - who also finished second behind him in Wednesday's Walloon Arrow. A handful of riders have won it three times and only Belgian great Eddy Merckx has won it more with five. More...
Cycling-Valverde completes stunning Ardennes campaign in Liege (Reuters)
April 27, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds details, quotes, changes dateline) By Julien Pretot ANS, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde wrapped up a remarkable Ardennes classics season when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, four days after triumphing on the Fleche Wallonne. The Movistar rider, who finished second in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, outsprinted a reduced group of top guns at the end of a hilly 253-kilometre ride. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. More...
Cycling-Spain's Valverde wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic (Reuters)
April 27, 2015 (08:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
LIEGE, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar team won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic, a 253-km ride on Sunday. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer) More...
Valverde claims hat-trick of victories in Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 27, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alejandro Valverde shrugged off the pressure of his status as outstanding pre-race favourite to claim his third triumph in a decade at Lige-Bastogne-Lige on Sunday. And just like last Wednesdays win at Flche Wallone, the Spanish veteran made no errors whatsoever en route to the sixth Ardennes Classics victory of his career. Throughout the 253-kilometre race, Valverde and Movistar played a very calculating game, knowing that with one Ardennes victory already in the bag, the pressure was on his rivals. First Europcar, then Astana and finally Katusha and Etixx-QuickStep laid down much of the pace on the front, with Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) doing the spadework to reel in a dangerous late break with Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) as the race hit the foot of the Cte de Saint-Nicolas. Equally, Valverde himself refused to let himself be drawn into any of the battles on the Roche-aux-Faucons or the Saint-Nicolas. Instead, the Spanish veteran conserved as much energy as possible and shadowed the most dangerous moves. Even when Valverde was handed, as top favourite, the responsibility of heading the bunch on the final climb to Ans, his pace was nowhere near as sustained as on when he shut down the attacks on the first three-quarters of the Mur de Huy on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT That tactic had certain inherent risks, as Dani Moreno (Katusha) showed when he burst clear in the last kilometre. But as the 35-year-old Valverde said later, keeping a cool head and calculating his distance " 600 metres " allowed me to get back up to Dani again. And I always kept a little bit of strength back [a little bullet, as Valverde called it in Spanish] so I could go for it in the sprint afterwards. That was a really hard moment, I suffered a lot to get back to Moreno. But I knew I had to get him. Everybody had placed the responsibility for controlling the race on my shoulders, but I knew what I was going to have to do to win. I started as the big favourite, I knew all the other guys were watching me, but I knew that I could do something just the same. Second in Amstel, first in Flche, first in Liege, its been an amazing week. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde times sprint perfectly to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege
April 26, 2015 (18:00) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
LIEGE, Belgium (AP) " Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for the third time in his career on Sunday, clinching the Ardennes double after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow.The... More...
Cycling-Valverde completes stunning Ardennes campaign in Liege (Reuters)
April 26, 2015 (17:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
(Adds details, quotes, changes dateline) By Julien Pretot ANS, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde wrapped up a remarkable Ardennes classics season when he won Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday, four days after triumphing on the Fleche Wallonne. The Movistar rider, who finished second in the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday, outsprinted a reduced group of top guns at the end of a hilly 253-kilometre ride. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. More...
Valverde times sprint perfectly to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege (The Associated Press)
April 26, 2015 (17:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
LIEGE, Belgium (AP) -- Alejandro Valverde timed his attack to perfection to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic for the third time in his career on Sunday, clinching the Ardennes double after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow. More...
Cycling-Spain's Valverde wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic (Reuters)
April 26, 2015 (17:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
LIEGE, Belgium, April 26 (Reuters) - Spain's Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar team won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic, a 253-km ride on Sunday. France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) took second with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), finishing third. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer) More...
Kwiatkowski tips Valverde as the big favourite for Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 26, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The pre-race mind games have begun with the Lige-Bastogne-Lige favourites trying to deflect the pressure onto one of their rivals. Despite having won Amstel Gold, seen as a mini-Lige, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) believes that Movistars Alejandro Valverde goes into this Sundays race with the competitive edge. Hes the most experienced rider, he knows how to prepare for such a hard week, Kwiatkowski told reporters. I would have loved to be in shape on Wednesday but I couldnt make it and thats experience I needed for the future. Valverde already has that and I think that he will be in the same big shape on Sunday. Kwiatkowski had a disappointing Flche Wallonne earlier in the week, slipping off the bunch on the steepest part of the Mur de Huy and finally finishing 38 seconds behind the winner Valverde. Fortunately for Etixx-QuickStep, his teammate Julian Alaphilippe was able to step up to the plate and deliver the team a second place. With time to regroup since then, Kwiatkowski is happy that hes where he needs to be for Sundays race.ADVERTISEMENT I feel more relaxed than compared to the day after the Amstel Gold Race, so I should be better, he explained. I feel more and more freshness on the bike, so thats better. I hope that its enough for such a long race because you need to be in condition. I think Ive had enough recovery before Lige. Kwiatkowski finished third at last years race, losing out in the sprint to Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Valverde. The new route is expected to be more selective this year but the Polish rider doesnt think that it will change too much in the grand scheme of things. The pace was pretty high last year and we had a pretty big group for the final, he said. It depends what the plan of the biggest favourite, Valverde, is... and if they want to control it so that they have a sprint then its going to be a bigger group. For sure, guys like Nibali want to play before because they cannot really count on their sprint. I am one of the riders who can count on their sprint so Ill be waiting for the final. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde says pressure is on rivals ahead of Lige-Bastogne-Lige
April 26, 2015 (07:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) may be everybodys favourite for Lige-Bastogne-Lige, but the Spanish veteran is adamant that with a podium finish in Amstel Gold Race and a victory in Flche Wallonne, the pressure on him to take a victory at Lige-Bastogne-Lige is considerably lower than for his rivals. I dont have that kind of stress considering what Ive already done this week, Valverde told Cyclingnews. So the pressure on them is a lot higher, not on me. Third in 2013, second in 2014, a third Lige-Bastogne-Lige victory seems on the cards for Valverde, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Saturday. But as a rider as experienced as Valverde knows, two and two dont always make four in cycling.ADVERTISEMENT Well, well see, he responded cautiously to the idea that mathematical logic indicates he should win. This is a very hard, complicated race and even if Im the favourite, its never easy to win here. Movistar checked out the last 65 kilometres of the route on Friday, including the two climbs, the Rosier and Maquisard, re-introduced between the Haut Levee and la Redoute. Theyve changed it a bit, its not a huge change, Valverde said. So well just have to see how things go tomorrow. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Alaphilippe fends off Flche veterans for notable second place
April 23, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Sandwiched between two grizzled veterans of many a Flche Wallonne, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and third placed Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) on the winner's podium atop the Mur de Huy, 22-year-old Julian Alaphilippe's runner-up spot in the mid-week Ardennes Classic could hardly fail to impress. In a Classic like Flche Wallonne where experience is traditionally considered a vital ingredient to success " it takes some riders years before mastering how they can perform the best on the Mur's devastatingly challenging slopes " Alaphilippe is clearly learning much faster than most. And as he told reporters afterward, although second is always a defeat no matter how you look at it, "for my first time performance here, I can't help but be pleased." Alaphilippe was at pains to emphasise that his fine personal result had not come because of any personally inspired last-minute alteration to team orders at Etixx-QuickStep. As he said, his initial goal, and Etixx-QuickStep's, had been to ensure that [teammate] World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski was "well positioned for the final ascent of the Mur."ADVERTISEMENT "I hadn't thought about going for the sprint, we wanted Michal in that good position," the second year pro recounted. "But after that happened there was a moment on the climb where the bunch began to waver. And over the race radio, my sports director was shouting 'go, go'." There was a point, he recounted, where he even saw himself adding a one-day WorldTour victory to his sole victory to date, a stage in the Tour de L'Ain last year in his debut season as a pro. "I thought in the last 200 metres I was going really well, but then Valverde eased ahead and got three or four metres, and I knew I was beaten," he recounted. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde claims record-equalling win at Flche Wallonne
April 23, 2015 (06:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Four days after he racked up the latest of a succession of near misses in the Amstel Gold Race, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) showed once again that at Flche Wallonne, not even major changes to the race route can stop the Spanish all-rounder from winning. The much-discussed addition of the Cte de Cherave climb in the final part of the 200 kilometre Classic certainly thinned out the pack, but when the efforts really began to take a toll on the Mur de Huy, Valverdes blue-clad figure was there at the front again, poised to pounce. The Spaniards third victory, taken with a finely-calculated show of strength on the final kilometre of the Mur, has now placed Valverde on a level pegging with Moreno Argentin, Eddy Merckx, Marcel Kint and Davide Rebellin as the fifth rider to score a hat-trick of Flche Wallonne wins. His is also the fourth Spanish victory in succession on the Mur de Huy, after Joaquim Rodriguez in 2012, Dani Moreno a year later and Valverde himself in 2014.ADVERTISEMENT Second in Amstel Gold and now first in Flche Wallonne, Valverde agreed that compared to 2014, his strategy had been different on the Mur de Huy, where last April he darted away from the pack with 200 metres to go. The Cte de Cherave, he argued, had made for a much calmer finale, with few attacks. His tactics this time were no less effective though, keeping the opposition under tight control with a sustained pace for most of the climb until, as he put it, we reached the right distance, to accelerate away for victory. The second last climb conditioned the race, and stopped people from being so keen to attack on the last ascent, Valverde told reporters after politely wishing everybody buenas tardes [Good Afternoon] as he started his press conference. I simply laid down a steady pace at the front that would try to rein my rivals in if they attacked on the Mur and the thing was that none of them did. Then I went for it when we reached the right distance for me [roughly 150 metres from the line.] I knew at that point I was going to win, because I still had the spark left to turn in another acceleration. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne for 3rd time (The Associated Press)
April 23, 2015 (02:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde of Spain perfectly timed his attack to win the Fleche Wallonne (Walloon Arrow) classic for the third time and the second year in a row on Wednesday. Valverde, the runner-up at the Amstel Gold Race last week, won a sprint ahead of France's Julian Alaphilippe and Swiss rider Michael Albasini at the top of the Mur de Huy after making his move a few hundred meters before the finish. Valverde joined the likes of Belgian great Eddy Merckx in a club of five riders to have won the race a record three times. To match a rider like Eddy Merckx is great, it gives me a lot of confidence and it shows that I still have the legs to perform well.'' Despite the addition this year of a new climb with an 8.1 percent average gradient- the Cote de Cherave - to the 205.5-kilometer ride through the woods and hills, victory was again decided in the final ascent of the iconic Mur de Huy. More...
Cycling-Valverde claims third Fleche Wallonne title (Reuters)
April 23, 2015 (02:30) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Spain's Alejandro Valverde won the Fleche Wallonne classic race for the third time, timing his effort to perfection in the final climb at the end of a 205.5km effort on Wednesday. The Movistar rider joins Belgians Eddy Merckx and Marcel Kint as well as Italians Davide Rebellin and Moreno Argentin as triple Fleche champions. "I can't remember such a tense day for a long time." Valverde powered away from the thinned-out pack with about 200 metres left in the Mur de Huy, a 1.3-km ascent at an average gradient of 9.6 percent to beat France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step). Swiss Michael Albasini was third for Orica Green-EDGE in a crash-marred race that saw 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome hit the tarmac 12 kilometres from the finish. More...
Cycling-Valverde claims third Fleche Wallonne title (Reuters)
April 22, 2015 (18:15) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Spain's Alejandro Valverde won the Fleche Wallonne classic race for the third time, timing his effort to perfection in the final climb at the end of a 205.5km effort on Wednesday. The Movistar rider joins Belgians Eddy Merckx and Marcel Kint as well as Italians Davide Rebellin and Moreno Argentin as triple Fleche champions. "I can't remember such a tense day for a long time." Valverde powered away from the thinned-out pack with about 200 metres left in the Mur de Huy, a 1.3-km ascent at an average gradient of 9.6 percent to beat France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step). Swiss Michael Albasini was third for Orica Green-EDGE in a crash-marred race that saw 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome hit the tarmac 12 kilometres from the finish. More...
Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne for 3rd time (The Associated Press)
April 22, 2015 (18:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde of Spain perfectly timed his attack to win the Fleche Wallonne (Walloon Arrow) classic for the third time and the second year in a row on Wednesday. Valverde, the runner-up at the Amstel Gold Race last week, won a sprint ahead of France's Julian Alaphilippe and Swiss rider Michael Albasini at the top of the Mur de Huy after making his move a few hundred meters before the finish. Despite the addition this year of a new climb with an 8.1 percent average gradient- the Cote de Cherave - to the 205.5-kilometer ride through the woods and hills, victory was again decided in the final ascent of the iconic Mur de Huy. Belgian Tim Wellens almost succeeded with a bold move on the Cote de Cherave but ran out of gas in the Mur as he was caught with less than 500 meters to go by Valverde and a pack of favorites that also included Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali and world champion Michal Kwiatkowski. More...
Valverde wins Fleche Wallonne for 3rd time
April 22, 2015 (17:45) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
HUY, Belgium (AP) " Alejandro Valverde of Spain perfectly timed his attack to win the Fleche Wallonne (Walloon Arrow) classic for the third time and the second year in a row on Wednesday.Valverde, runner-up at the Amstel Gold Race... More...
Valverde remains upbeat despite another loss in Amstel Gold Race
April 20, 2015 (05:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
For a rider who has been defeated on the Cauberg for the fifth time in his career - once in the World Championships in 2012 and now for the fourth time in the Amstel Gold Race - Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) nonetheless was in an decidedly upbeat mood after the race. The Spanish veteran considers that Amstel has nonetheless shown that he has arrived at the Ardennes Week in top form. After taking second place behind Etixx-Quick Steps Michal Kwiatkowski, he is well on track for Fleche Wallonne, where he is defending champion and Liege-Bastogne-Liege - and in a team which will be further boosted by the participation of Nairo Quintana in the two Belgian Classics. We were always close to the front, watching what we could do and with that finish a little further after the Cauberg than it used to be, it was always going to be a very open race, Valverde told Cyclingnews as he picked his way through the media tent at the finish.ADVERTISEMENT Im happy with how I did the sprint, I was quite a long way ahead, but the headwind caused me a few problems and it was difficult to stay up there. After following Lars Petter Nordhaug as the Norwegian opened up the sprint close to the barriers and then passing the Sky rider, as Valverde veered across the finale from right to left, too, Kwiatkowskis steadier, straighter acceleration put the Pole clear of the Spaniard. It was the closest Ive got to winning Amstel, and the team was really good at keeping things under control, and Im feeling the best I ever have done in this Ardennes week, too. Im pleased, Valverde said afterwards. Of the three Classics, Valverde believes that Amstel is the least favourable for him. The Ardennes race which suits me the best is Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and even more so now theyve brought back the [Cote du] Roche aux Faucons [climb], thats going be much better for me, just like la Fleche Wallonne with that new extra ascent is a much better finish for me too. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Valverde looks to complete Ardennes set in Amstel Gold Race
April 20, 2015 (05:15) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Fourth in Amstel Gold in 2014, second in 2013, a bronze medallist on the same finish in the World Championships in 2012 as well as third way back in 2008, Alejandro Valverde probably holds the modern-day record for near-misses on the races final ascent of the Cauberg without ever having won. However, minutes away from lining up for another attempt to crack the one Ardennes Classic he has not won, the Spanish allrounder says he has not made the Dutch one-day race a particular goal, even though he has already taken two victories in Fleche Wallonne and two in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. All of these three are good for me and just winning one makes your entire week, Valverde told Cyclingnews on Sunday morning, Ive never won Amstel but Im not fussy about which!ADVERTISEMENT My conditions very good, what you need is luck. But bringing in that extra section before the finish after the top of the Cauberg like that isnt so great for me. I prefer the old Amstel finish. Hes in good shape and keen to make his mark, Movistar sports director Jose Luis Arrieta added, and hes always been there or thereabouts on the Cauberg. More than bad luck, Id say hes either not been in the right place or lacked the teammate that could have guided him into a better position. This time round on paper, [Movistar team-mate Giovanni] Visconti should be the rider to help him on the Cauberg, and Jose Herrada and Gorka Izaguirre should be up there in the finale to give him a hand too. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...

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