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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...
Quintana and Valverde confirmed for the Ardennes Classics
April 17, 2015 (05:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The Movistar team has confirmed that both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde will target the Ardennes Classics. The Colombian climber will head to Belgium for next weeks Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, while Valverde will also line-up in Sundays Amstel Gold Race. Quintana finished 50th in the 2013 Liege-Bastogne-Liege but skipped the Ardennes Classics in 2014 to prepare for the Giro dItalia. Like many Tour de France contenders, he will ride this years Fleche-Wallonne to study the final kilometres and the Mur de Huy climb, that will host the finish of stage three of this years Grand Boucle. Quintana finished fourth overall in the last week's Tour of the Basque Country won by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Quintana won Tirreno-Adriastico in March and got a taste of the cobbles he will face in the Tour de France by riding Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke races in Belgium. Valverde will ride all three Ardennes Classics and is likely contender for victory. He finished second in the 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, beaten by Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in a sprint finish after Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) crashed in the last corner. Also in the Movistar team for the Ardennes are Imanol Erviti, Jos Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, Jos Joaqun Rojas, Rory Sutherland and Giovanni Visconti. John Gadret will ride the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT Another Movistar team will also be in action in Spain this weekend at the three-day Vuelta a Castilla y Leon stage race, which starts on Friday. Beat Intxausti will lead the team, with many of the riders recently named for the Giro dItalia. Completing the seven-rider Movistar roster are Javi Moreno, Marc Soler, Winner Anacona, Enrique Sanz, Igor Antn and Jonathan Castroviejo. Cyclingnews will have complete coverage of the Ardennes Classics, with live coverage of the Amstel Gold Race, Fleche-Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Video: Volta a Catalunya stage 7 highlights
March 31, 2015 (03:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
The Volta a Catalunya concluded Sunday with the seventh-and-final stage, a126.6km route that featured eight ascents through Montjuic Park on a 6.4km circuit. The stage ended with a third win in the week-long event for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the head of a front group of around 40 riders. While Valverde's stage win and time bonuses moved him into second overall, he couldn't get by Team Sky's Richie Porte for the overall win. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) finished third. Watch full highlights of stage 7 below and to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, click here.ADVERTISEMENT You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Porte holds off Valverde to win Volta a Catalunya
March 29, 2015 (16:30) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) " Richie Porte of Australia hung on to his overnight lead to win the Volta a Catalunya Sunday after the race's seventh and final stage won by Alejandro Valverde of Spain.The stage victory assured Valverde of... More...
Valverde wins 5th stage, Porte leads Volta a Catalunya (The Associated Press)
March 28, 2015 (17:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde won the fifth stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Friday, while Richie Porte took the lead of the seven-day race. Valverde opened a gap ahead of a small group that included Porte and Alberto Contador on an ascent with 10 kilometers left. Heavy winds and work by Movistar and Sky to push the pace had already left then overall leader Bart De Clercq behind. More...
Valverde wins 5th stage, Porte leads Volta a Catalunya (The Associated Press)
March 28, 2015 (01:15) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde won the fifth stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Friday, while Richie Porte took the lead of the seven-day race. Valverde opened a gap ahead of a small group that included Porte and Alberto Contador on an ascent with 10 kilometers left. Heavy winds and work by Movistar and Sky to push the pace had already left then overall leader Bart De Clercq behind. More...
Valverde wins 5th stage, Porte leads Volta a Catalunya
March 27, 2015 (18:30) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
VALLS, Spain (AP) " Alejandro Valverde won the fifth stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Friday, while Richie Porte took the lead of the seven-day race.The Movistar rider claimed his second stage win of this edition after completing... More...
Alejandro Valverde wins 2nd stage of Volta a Catalunya (The Associated Press)
March 26, 2015 (08:00) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde of Spain sprinted away from a tightly-bunched pack to win the rain-swept second stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Tuesday. The 34-year-old rider finished in five hours, two minutes, 49 seconds, just ahead of Movistar teammate Jose Rojas of Spain and Switzerland's Martin Elmiger, both of whom had the same time as Valverde. Maciej Paterski of Poland retained the overall lead at the end of the 191.8-kilometer (119-mile) mountain stage from Mataro to Olot. Wednesday's third stage will be a 156.6 kilometer (97.3 mile) mountain stage in and around Girona, featuring two category 1 climbs. More...
Alejandro Valverde wins 2nd stage of Volta a Catalunya
March 24, 2015 (18:45) [ Indexed from New Zealand Herald ]
OLOT, Spain (AP) " Alejandro Valverde of Spain sprinted away from a tightly-bunched pack to win the rain-swept second stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Tuesday.The 34-year-old rider finished in five hours, two minutes, 49 seconds,... More...
Alejandro Valverde wins 2nd stage of Volta a Catalunya (The Associated Press)
March 24, 2015 (18:45) [ Indexed from Yahoo! Sports ]
Alejandro Valverde of Spain sprinted away from a tightly-bunched pack to win the rain-swept second stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Tuesday. The 34-year-old rider finished in five hours, two minutes, 49 seconds, just ahead of Movistar teammate Jose Rojas of Spain and Switzerland's Martin Elmiger, both of whom had the same time as Valverde. Maciej Paterski of Poland retained the overall lead at the end of the 191.8-kilometer (119-mile) mountain stage from Mataro to Olot. Wednesday's third stage will be a 156.6 kilometer (97.3 mile) mountain stage in and around Girona, featuring two category 1 climbs. More...
Lobato and Valverde to lead Movistar at Milan-San Remo
March 19, 2015 (02:45) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Movistar will line up at Milan-San Remo with last years number one ranked rider, Alejandro Valverde, and Juan Jos Lobato as its leaders for the first monument of 2015. Lobato has had an impressive start to the season with wins at the Tour Down Under and Vuelta a Andaluca along with three top-five finishes at the Dubai Tour. The 26-year-old was fourth on his debut at Milan-San Remo last year and will start the race as one of the favourites for the podium. Valverde hasn't ridden Milan-San Remo since 2006 when he finished 24th on the Via Roma which will host the finale of the race for the first time in seven years.ADVERTISEMENT While Valverde hasnt enjoyed the same successful start to the year that he did in 2014, with the 34-year-old registering just one win at the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, he has finished on the podium on several occasions, including his last race, Strade Bianche and is likely to be animator in the final 50km. The duo will first race the GP Nobili in anticipation of the 293km monument with the majority of their teammates to take part in both events. Jasha Stterlin and Alex Dowsett will make their 2015 debuts at the 1.HC race while Rory Sutherland makes his return to racing having broken his collarbone earlier in the season. Dowsett was forced to delay his attempt on the Hour Record after he crashed during a training ride in January and has been out of action since. You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...
Video: 2015 Strade Bianche highlights
March 09, 2015 (20:00) [ Indexed from Cyclingnews.com ]
Having broken clear with 20km left to race, it was Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) andZden›k tybar(Etixx-Quick Step) leading Strade Bianche and starting the final kilometre 16 per centVia Santa Caterina climb into Sienna together. Van Avermaet was the first attack on the steep slopes with Valverde quick to try and close down the move. As Valverde struggled to reign in Van Avermaet, a blistering acceleration by Stybar saw the Czech national champion jump clear just before the crest of the summit before he rode solo over the finish line for hist first victory of 2015. Van Avermaet crossed the line two seconds in arrears with Valverde 18 seconds back.ADVERTISEMENT "In the final kilometres I thought that Valverde would attack but then Greg surprised me and went really early, at the bottom of the steepest part of the final climb," Stybar said. "I got on his wheel but I knew Id have to overtake him at the top otherwise Id be second. I wanted to win today and so did everything I could to overtake him and take this beautiful win." Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews videochannel You can read more at Cyclingnews.com More...

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