Alejandro Valverde finished 11th in the Tour du Haut Var on Sunday. The race started and ended in Draguignan, with the race distance to be completed just shy of 200 kilometres. The race was won by Davide Rebellin, of Italy.
Valverde was nonetheless happy at the finish. "The day was a very hard one, because of the difficult course and also because of the way the race developed," declared the Caisse d'Epargne captain in Draguignan. "To be the first race that counts for the classification of the French cup, we knew it was supposed to be vigorously disputed and it was exactly like that... And not forgetting the distance, 197.3 kilometres, which is a lot for a race organised in February."
Valverde was active in the race and described the decisive moments. "A break occurred at mid-race and I found myself in front, together with Nicolas Portal and about thirty other riders. The idea was to try to do something at the last difficulty, the côte des Tuillières; but Rebellin was the first to attack and with him Nocentini and Botcharov."
Valverde tried together with other racers to bring the break back, but the trio in the front was very strong. "Together with Gilbert and Schleck, we tried to bridge the gap but [there was] no way and we stayed at about six or seven seconds." In the end he was content to just roll into the finish, saying that "I did not sprint for fourth place, but I am very satisfied, because without being at 100% yet, all day long I was able to stay with the riders who have the best condition right now, and that is very positive..." He also praised the teamwork and the condition of his team-mates. "The entire team Caisse d'Epargne achieved an excellent job and that is also very positive, if we think about all the important races we will take part in later in the season. I will return to competition with the Vuelta a Murcia, which will start March 4," Alejandro Valverde concluded.