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Minguez slams Valverde over Worlds ride

By:
Alasdair Fotheringham
Published:
September 30, 2013, 11:20,
Updated:
September 30, 2013, 12:02
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Race:
UCI Road World Championships
Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Porgutal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) show off their world championship hardware

Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain), Rui Costa (Porgutal) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) show off their world championship hardware

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"He should have chased down anything that moved, even the motorbikes"

Spain’s national coach Javier Minguez has criticised Alejandro Valverde’s failure to chase down Rui Costa when the Portuguese rider bridged across to Joaquim Rodriguez in the closing kilometres of the World Championships, and then went on to win.

Valverde has blamed his tactical error on not having the legs to follow Rui Costa. But for Minguez, who took over the job of Spanish trainer from Jose Luis De Santos this year, suggested that Valverde’s failure to react as the Portuguese rider jumped away was not satisfactory.

“Purito’s performance deserved a gold,” said Minguez, “and losing the gold in this way annoys me, although I’m pleased we got silver and bronze.”

“Joaquim raced fantastically well, but Valverde made a serious mistake. If Rui Costa goes for Purito, he has to go after him. If he had done that, he’d be in the rainbow jersey now.”

“He should have chased down anything that moved - even the television motorbike.”

“Okay, two medals is cause for a fiesta. But thanks to his error, we’re not World Champions.”

Minguez praised the Spanish team for “doing everything we had said beforehand. Even if it was terrible weather and we got two medals, it’s annoying to see how stupid we look for not getting gold. It was ours and we lost it.”

With three silvers and two bronzes, Valverde is now the most be-medalled rider of cycling history in elite men’s road-racing - Marianne Vos has that honour in the womens’ category - but none of them are gold.

In 2004 in Verona, Valverde’s work for Oscar Freire in the closing kilometres en route to Spain’s previous gold was exceptional. But since then the Murcia-born rider has come in for criticism, most notably in Valkenberg 2012.

LeeOliver More than 1 year ago
Most bemedalled and most tainted?
Eric Blais More than 1 year ago
I believe the most tainted goes to DiLuca ;-)
Eric Blais More than 1 year ago
Or maybe Vino...
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
How dare Di Luca and Vino taint our sport. They sould have been like everybody else - just as tainted, but never caught.
wwabbit More than 1 year ago
Which reminds me, we haven't heard from the Vino bribery case for a while.
mspgrandi More than 1 year ago
Valverde has surely doped throughout his career.. but he has also been consistent at the very top for several years. if he is clean now,there isnt much difference in his performance today and when doped... Contador for example has dropped significantly..
Brian Handy More than 1 year ago
Which is why I believe he ISN'T clean. Every other rider that has returned from sanction has had a big drop in performance except Valverde, who is racing at exactly the same level as he was when he was caught for doping.
chechu More than 1 year ago
Or maybe he didn't do anything, never looked like it...Mr consistant even at age 17
antmills More than 1 year ago
... "Blood bags" ... the lot of them.
everydayfatrider More than 1 year ago
After over 270k in the saddle my taint would be a bit sore as well.
AydinR More than 1 year ago
Yeah guys, that was a 270k race. Of course Valverde would be tired. He has a right to be.
Sam Hocking More than 1 year ago
Looking at the final few km a few times I would say Valverde and Nibali were both cooked when Costa went and both decided at that moment to race for bronze.
meals-on-wheels More than 1 year ago
Agreed - rather than have a 'fiesta' - I think the coach needs to take a siesta and wake up realising that Valverde gave it all he got.
TANK91 More than 1 year ago
Ur ridicolous Nibali did all work Valverde has a bigger engine than Costa. They both had a passenger ride. The tihing i agree with is when you hear them say it you have to agree of course the distance is huge 270 kmsis along way but this i coulnt follow was stupid watch it again and he didnot even try he marked Nibali the whole time. Pathetic rider he is im now never cheering for him again i hated when he had mechanical his TALENT deserves a TDF podium. But man o man what a waste.
Mark Schwitau More than 1 year ago
Relax just a touch.
Lance, remember Bassons? More than 1 year ago
Twonk91 - "pathetic rider he is"...... "im now never cheering for him"......." i hated when he had mechanical".........you write like a dyslexic Yoda.
velogeek More than 1 year ago
If Purito didn't want to sprint against Costa, he could have slowed down much more and waited for Valverde to come up to them. Costa would have been forced to either wait, or lead him out.
anthonyz More than 1 year ago
This is the reason I'm confused when Purito said there was nothing he could do. Well, he could have *stopped pedaling*!!
mspgrandi More than 1 year ago
They cooked up . 1) with 3km to go Rodriguez should have just stayed with Valverde and lead his sprint. Valverde is a good sprinter 2) Valverde should have just gone after Rui... It's amazing he didnt try to collaborate 3) He obviously underestimated Rui
Wattie More than 1 year ago
I'm inclined to agree with you. Once Rodriguez was caught by the other three it was in the spanish team's interest to keep the four together, with Valverde likely to win the sprint. Rodriguez should have accepted his chance was gone and ensured that Valverde was led out in the sprint. I couldn't believe it when Rodriguez made the second attack.
ValPiti18. More than 1 year ago
I can't disagree more, specially with 1). Let me explain why. Rodriguez must attack with 3 Km. to go. Specially because he is so tired that he isn't even able to set a fast pace. What would've happened if, with Rodriguez setting pace, Costa and Nibali started to attack? It would've been Valverde's work to jump every time. It would become a 2 against 1 race, probably with Purito dropped. And Valverde would've lost all he's energy for the sprint. For me, the best scenario por spanish team was exactly like it was with 1 Km. to go, and Purito did a perfect race. He deserved to win. And he would've done if, instead of Valverde, the guy in the group was Freire. BTW, Freire said to spanish media "Purito lost because of Valverde. I don't believe he couldn't go after Rui".
Dedelou More than 1 year ago
I think that looking again at the whole race several things happened at the end. It is not just a case of "did he make a tactical mistake vs did he have the strength" but rather both factors came to play in the end. To me, Valverde was, for good reason still focused on Nibali, so he hesitated to cover Costa's jump on the corner and just stayed near Nibali. When he saw how fast Costa was bridging to Purito, he no longer had what he takes to do the same. Frankly, Costa at that point was moving a huge gear and it would have taken a Sagan or Cancellara type to catch him once he was gone. Finishing third was the best Valverde could do at that moment. The coach should try riding a WC before crying to the press.
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
Valverde was not cooked. He sat on Nibali the entire time. Once Nibali reeled Joaquim in, Valverde should have attacked immediately, but he didn't, instead Joaquim attacked again! And when Costa went he thought he could get Nibali to chase that one down too because he and Costa are teammates. That kind of racing is never going to win a world championship, TDF, or any other race.
marcello More than 1 year ago
I"d leave Valverde off the national team henceforth. Spain had gold assured, but he threw it away. Every time Valverde is in a small lead group, he contributes nothing, especially in classic races. He refuses to cooperate with anyone. His tactic is to let the others keep the group clear so he can win the sprint. I"ve seen many times his breakaway companions imploring him to cooperate, but he refuses. He has the most WC medals. I now hope he never earns gold.
Dewulf More than 1 year ago
Agreed! Also, soon after they first caught Purito, Valverde had a little stab yeah? They caught him and Purito wagged his finger at him, told him off? I think given that Purito was able to jump away on the final incline, and indeed was able to drop them all in the first place, it should have been up to Valverde to protect him. And he could have done that just by sitting on Costa/Nibali. Neither would want to drag the best sprinter in the group to the line, which could easily have earned Purito the extra time he needed. When Valverde made that little attack, he cost himself energy he could have used to chase down either of those guys. I think it shows Valverde was interested in winning for himself, as others have pointed out he so often is. And that's probably why Rodriguez didn't want to play stalling tactics with Costa. It would've allowed Valverde to get back and win the sprint.
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
Well, Except that it was Rui Costa who almost was dropped on the last time up the Salviati... I honestly dont think Costa was any stronger than Valverde in the decisive moment. Valverde just didnt see the attack coming in the first time and made the error of believing he wouldnt be able to catch him back if he tried to - a big mistake. However I still like Valverde as a rider. I must say about Costas win, that it was probably the cheapest and most undeserved win in a Worlds RR I've ever seen. I don't like the guy's style of riding, even if its smart riding. On the other hand, I think its good for Lampre to have a world champion on their team (if not only for the prestige, it gives)
The Cobra More than 1 year ago
Agree with all of this. Costa was the weakest of the four and would rather lose than have helped Nibali bring back Purito. At least Nibali raced like a champion, racing for the win at all times. Valverde was the dumbest, Nibali the strongest, Costa the smartest and Purito the unluckiest.
Alexey Tsitkin More than 1 year ago
Purito is always the unluckiest. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride... Like the ridiculous losses in Giro & Vuelta 2012
marcello More than 1 year ago
99% of pros on the planet would trade in their palmares for his of course. He wins mucho races. 99% of pros would be ecstatic to be competitive on the last lap of the worlds, leading with 500m to go. Don't get too worried about him.
Jayme Edwards More than 1 year ago
Big disagree. Costa is a great rider on hard single days, especially in GTs. He was smart here and the Spaniards let their adrenaline get the better of them. Still wish purito would have won, I love the way he races.
Alexey Tsitkin More than 1 year ago
Costa is a very strong rider, but also seems to me like a big jerk...
unc_sammy More than 1 year ago
If they appointed Contador as one of their leaders and not as one of their jokers, then they could have more options. After the team selection, they automatically announced that Valverde and Rodriguez are the outright leaders. We can only speculate of the outcome that perhaps, Valverde underestimated Costa or Movistar scripted the order of finish or Valverde knows that it's useless to follow Costa because the Portuguese sprints faster than him.
Eric Blais More than 1 year ago
A really bad outcome, Silver and Bronze. Not that bad. Not saying that it is worth a gold, but still there is only one Gold medal.
barthvos More than 1 year ago
The Spanish team had two riders in a group of four and both the best sprinters of their team. So there's no point stating Contador should've been there. Valverde has a better sprint than Rui Costa. We'll never know wether Valverde could've counterd Rui Costa because he didn't try.
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
You're statement is pointless then. Who cares if Valverde could or could not have countered Costa's move. He didn't. Rodriguez and Costa took the race into their own hands and made the moves they needed to. Valverde didn't. I don't care how strong he is, if he's never going to make a move, he's going to lose every time and he's always gonna be saying the same thing, "shoulda coulda woulda".
barthvos More than 1 year ago
Valverde should've tried and he didn't. That's the point Minguez has.
liebig More than 1 year ago
When it comes to sprinting, it's the man with the best legs in that moment that wins. Rui Costa played his tactical game to perfection as it panned out. He took a risk just sitting behind both Valverde and Nibali. But as Nibali's desire to do well in front of the home crowd brought him close enough to have a last dig at Purito - it all paid off. Otherwise he would have had to take on Valverde for the silver.
TheGreatMan More than 1 year ago
Costa will be leaving Movistar for Lampre shortly, makes little sense to conspire with a teammate (costa) you'll only have for another few weeks anyways.
Jesus from Cancun More than 1 year ago
I doubt that Valverde would have "let Costa go". But it is possible. Costa has worked countless times for Valverde during the regular season. It is possible that Valverde didn't bring that extra 1% against someone he feels in debt to. Plus, the postcard pictures with the brand new rainbow jersey will have Movistar printed on it... Again, I doubt it, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was what happened.
blemcooper More than 1 year ago
There would be no reason for Movistar to script a finish order where Costa comes out ahead of Valverde since Costa is leaving Movistar after this season.
FabiquesAnquetillara More than 1 year ago
It is so unfair to Valverde. In last kms all 4 were scraping last drops of energy from bottoms of their revervoirs. It is enough to see how Costa and Rodriquez accelerated for sprint to tell you that there was nothing left. Nothing. Same applies for Nibali and Valverde. If you can't follow, because you just have nothing left, it is not tactical error.
Alexey Tsitkin More than 1 year ago
Unfair? He sat all the time playing the tactical game, between Nibali and Costa. Didn't attack once... I would say he deserved the win the least out of the 4. Nibali didn't sprint at all in the end, because he was interested in the win, not bronze.
Wheelsucker11 More than 1 year ago
It was a tactical error because Rodriguez had attacked and Valverde should have been sitting behind both Nibali and Costa marking them. Letting Costa come around him and not counter attack was a rookie mistake and lost Rodriguez the gold.
FabiquesAnquetillara More than 1 year ago
Have you ever raced? I mean in real life? If you can't go, because you have nothing left, you can't go and all the talks about marking and following are pointless if at that very moment you do not have legs anymore. Simple as that. Sure, "rookie mistake". Guy with palmares like Valverde should have been studying some internet wisdom before race. If only he did, everything would be different if he had info from CN. Sure.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
I agree with you. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...all very nice from the comfort of home, but after racing for over 7 hours the body and mind are depleted. In a race, when you're at the end of your rope--which at that point, they all were--making the right decision, much less acting on it, goes against everything the body and mind are trying to do...which is to stop the effort which is destroying itself. Once the final five guys established their lead and it became clear the winner was going to come from that group, my heart was about to beat out of my chest watching the drama and the pain those men were enduring. We were treated to a crash, numerous attacks, tactics, a huge gamble (Costa sitting on until the last possible moment), and finally a new world champion! It played out just how it was supposed to and it was beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, even though "my man" didn't win!
KKelly More than 1 year ago
Simple on the same trade team ..Movistar ..so he was not going to chase down his workjing team mate ... but as you can see that is all a load of B...... x now as Costa goes to Merida Lamp next year ... with all due respect Valve.. great rider ...and he made a boo boo this time around ... nothingt to worry on Nibali as he cannot sprint anyway ! ... J Rod was the MAN yesterday .....class act yesterday all 2012 / 13 - pure and simple !
Brian Handy More than 1 year ago
Yes, but Costa has done a lot of work for Valverde over the years. He sacrificed his own high placing at the Tour this year to try to bring Valverde back during he echelon stage. Maybe he could have made it up to them, but I think he was happy with either Costa or Purito winning.
aidscams96 More than 1 year ago
Nibali actually outsprinted Valverde at the end of one of the Vuelta stages. Not saying he is a better sprinter, and it might have been a one-off, but Nibali can sprint.
Roberj4 More than 1 year ago
Unless Nibali was glued to Valverde's rear wheel what more could he have done...chase down Costa for Nibali take the draft then over take for the win or a silver. Valverde's mistake was not to counter attack once Nibali brought Rodriquez back from the initial attack. I think the fuss is over nothing unless 'trade team orders' come into play and we've seen that before dare I say with......Team GB
barthvos More than 1 year ago
If Valverde could've countered Rui Costa with Nibali in his wheel and if the three would've come back on Rodriquez it's doubtfull Nibali would've won the sprint. On a flat or on a descent sprint Valverde will beat Nibali nine times out of ten. There's no way valverde would be concerned sprinting against Nibali for the gold medal.
RodrigoDaBici More than 1 year ago
It's well known that Nibali hasn't got a sprint in him on the flat. He'd said many times if he was going to win it would be a solo victory, so Valverde had nothing to fear by towing Nibali along. Valverde betted on Nibali chasing Costa down and benefiting from the Italian's efforts - it was what he'd done since the descent from Fiesole, and was a good tactic considering the onus was on Nibali being the home rider. What scuppered this approach was that Nibali was properly cooked by the time Costa went, and Valverde's gamble failed.
mspgrandi More than 1 year ago
exactly... valverde tried to do the Rui Costa game on nibali... it worked for Rui, but it didnt work on Alejandro... these are gambles.. the last few km of a race do not always pan out in the same way. for example rui was lucky yesterday that nibali made tall the effort. I have seen races where someone in nibali situation would have just sit up and let purito go rather than tow the guy behind ....
Alexey Tsitkin More than 1 year ago
In case for Costa, it was indeed a gamble that payed off. But for Valverde it was just stupidity - it was obvious Nibali is done, after chasing Purito alone so much. Looked like he just missed Costa's attack...
pedromachado More than 1 year ago
Still not one comment praising Costa for a well deserved win. He was smarter than the Spaniards, played to his strengths, bridged a big gap and took the win. Stop crying about what was lost and celebrate what was won............
RodrigoDaBici More than 1 year ago
This article is about the Spanish team's performance, not Costa's victory, hence the lack of praise for his victory.
pedromachado More than 1 year ago
Fair point :P
RodrigoDaBici More than 1 year ago
We've all been there!
ocycle More than 1 year ago
It is obviously speculative to say that Valverde would have won if he had gone with Costa. But by not trying to follow him, whether he then had Nibabli on his wheel or not, meant Costa had only one thing to focus on and that was catching Rodriquez. As soon as he got a gap and looked back to see Valverde not chasing then he's on it 100% looking forward, no need to look back anymore. If he looks back and immiedately sees Valverde chasing then there's a seed of doubt sown. "Can I make it, will I end up just towing Valverde to the line?" Valverde made it much easier mentally for Costa to bridge the gap to Rodriquez. Even a bluff of a chase by Valverde might have cost Costa precious energy to give the sprint advantage to Rodriquez (if he'd then thrown his bike at the correct finish line that is...).
mspgrandi More than 1 year ago
the best comment i read on this situation. Riders do not like to tow other riders. Rui went 100% flat out in the last 2 km, he would not have catched Purito if he had valverde on his wheel
Jayme Edwards More than 1 year ago
Did you see when Costa attacked? It was a brilliant corner where getting around nibs without him would be too late to catch him. I think Costa knew Nibs was cooked and piti just didn't have enough in the tank to catch.
Alexey Tsitkin More than 1 year ago
Add to that Costa is a much better finisher than Purito on the flat, and he knew it...
LesMcLuffAlot More than 1 year ago
7 hours in the saddle...strange things happen
Ripper More than 1 year ago
Costa rode a great race - totally deserved the win. Valverde - really turning out to be the 'almost' man for big races. He has the sprint, but it always seems to be for the lesser placings.