ALEJANDRO VALVERDE from Las Lumbreras in Murcia Province, underlined his crushing domination of the 2017 Volta a Catalunya this year with a superbly timed sprint to a third stage win on Sunday, this time in a small group finish in the Montjuïc park in Barcelona.
On Sunday’s seventh and final stage the Movistar rider chased down a surging late attack by Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) with just three kilometres remaining in the last of eight hilly laps in Montjuïc. Valverde then fended off the rest of the group, crossing the line just half a bike length ahead of Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) to take his seventh career Volta stage win and to wrap up his second overall career title in Catalunya.
In the closing stage of the Volta on the traditional series of 6.6 kilometre laps over eight climbs around the Montjuïc park that always concludes the event, Valverde and Martin held off the front group of around 15 riders by a handful of seconds on the fast descent to the finish.
Valverde said that he had not been expecting to put on such a stellar performance in the race, where he took three stages, the overall victory and the King of the Mountains jersey.
With less than a month to go before his 37th birthday, the veteran cyclist continues to perform at a level that would be exceptional for many riders ten years younger.
Valverde’s triumph in a race he last won in May 2009 continues one of his best springs of recent years, with two overall victories, in the Ruta del Sol and Catalunya, as well as a win on home soil in the early season Vuelta a Murcia one-day race.
Alberto Contador was runner up in the competition and Marc Soler capped a great race for the Spanish Movistar team by finishing third and helping them to win the the overall team competition.
Britain’s Team Sky rider Chris Froome bounced back on the final stage on Sunday, with a late attack on the Montjuïc circuit. Ultimately though, the attack came to little, as Froome moved up just one position on GC, but it was a show of pride after losing so much time the day before. On Saturday, during stage 6 of the race Froome and Team Sky were caught out on an early descent and would eventually lose over 26 minutes and drop from second to 31st overall.