Difficult day tells Valverde he's feeling well

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde finished seventh at 1'17" off stage nine winner Riccardo Riccò...

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde finished seventh at 1'17" off stage nine winner Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval - Scott). He crossed the line in the same group as the other favorites.

"This first high mountain stage in the Pyrenees has been a very long, very fast and very difficult one," said Valverde, "but it has been a good day, not only for myself, but also for the whole team Caisse d'Epargne, which did a great job during the entire day.

"The stage gave me the opportunity to note that I am feeling good, and this is very important before the tomorrow's stage. It is supposed to be a very different day, and I imagine that the bunch will not be so tired when starting to climb the first hill. Let's hope that the weather will be as nice as today; otherwise the downhill of the Tourmalet could be more difficult than the climb."

Valverde offered his congratulations to Riccó for his accomplishment. "He attacked in the most difficult part of the climb, and nobody was able to follow him. We chased on the downhill and later on the flat, but only a few riders from Lampre and Rabobank cooperated and that was not enough. Now we will have a good rest to be in very good condition tomorrow so that we can come out of the Pyrenees in the best possible way."

Valverde was helped throughout the day, but especially while climbing Peyresourde and Aspin, by team-mate David Arroyo.

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