An attack from Alejandro Valverde on the final climb of the Ruta del Sol saw the Spanish national champion snatch overall victory from Tejay van Garderen, netting his fourth overall win at the race. Valverde described the stage and overall double as the “the most satisfying of them all.” Victory in the stage 4 time trial saw van Garderen start the final stage of the race with a 22 second advantage over Valverde.
BMC and Team Sky ensured a high pace leading into and on the early slopes of the Peñas Blancas before Movistar’s Dani Moreno briefly jumped clear as Valverde then made his winning move with 7km to race. Valverde’s 15-second lead after one kilometre quickly doubled to see him become the virtual leader on the road and by the time he arrived at the finish, a fourth title was secure with van Garderen 48 seconds in arrears.
The win was the first of 2016 for the 35-year-old which he dedicated to Italian teammate Adriano Malori who continues to recover from injuries sustained at the Tour de San Luis last month. “It’s totally for him, and for the support I’ve had from the team, too,” Valverde said.
For stage reports, results and galleries from all five stages of the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, click here
Alberto Contador made it an afternoon for the experienced Spanish brigade as he too took his first win of the season on the hill top finish of Alto do Malhao at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta. Overall leader Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) was distanced on the climb, finishing almost 20 minutes down on Contador, opening the door for Geraint Thomas to successfully defend his overall title in a year that he is aiming to transition into a full-time GC rider.
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