Costa reinforces Movistar attack at Challenge Mallorca
Achieving the first victory in 2013 seemed like a long time coming for Movistar but Alejandro Valverde put an end to the team's recurring podium placings by taking out the Trofeo Deià from a select four-man group yesterday. Again, it was the Spanish squad who had the numbers toward the finish at the Challenge Mallorca but it was Valverde’s decision to open his sprint to the left, with the finish line located on a left turn that ultimately gave him the win over Sergio Henao (Sky).
Movistar have demonstrated its strength throughout the squad during the four-race series and Deià was no different. Coming down into the final kilometers after the ascent of the Col de Puig Major, Valverde had last year’s Tour de Suisse overall victor Rui Costa for company. Costa worked for his captain and may have fallen short of the podium with fourth-place but the victory should bode well for Valverde when he likely lines-up for Volta ao Algarve next week.
"I knew I was good, but didn’t know by how much. This year I'm a little calmer in my start to the season," said Valverde on his team site following his first win of the year.
"It is true that I finished nicely in 2012 and came here with enthusiasm and strength. Once you're ahead you are always trying to win. When you are calm, when training the sensations are good from the start and the team is good, things go how you desire," he explained.
"I want to thank my colleagues, the people who always support me and Movistar, for all the support they always give us. We started well, the group has been cut and seeing the damage we continued forcing the pace. At all times I had a good feeling. We felt good and we decided to wait for me to sprint. Rui has worked very well and could get me the win. To earn [a win] so soon is always better because it gives you peace of mind to you and the team to work with more confidence."
The win in Spain is a testament to the results the team has achieved since the opening race of the year in Australia. The team came out swinging at the Tour Down Under and performed solidly at Tour de San Luis but a win had eluded them until now. Fittingly it was the team’s captain Alejandro Valverde who repeated Movistar’s first win of the season at Trofeo Deià – after taking his squad’s inaugural win of 2012 when he won atop Willunga Hill at the Tour Down Under.
Movistar will take on the final event at Challenge Mallorca with the Trofeo Platja de Muro. The line-up is yet to be announced for the final 169km race.