Alejandro Valverde is keeping his eyes firmly set on the Tour de France podium and feels Vincenzo Nibali is not unbeatable. “There's still all the Alps, all the Pyrenees left. All the big mountains. Any stage could be good to gain time or lose it,” the Spanish Movistar captain said.
Valverde currently sits third in the overall, 2:47 down on Nibali. In 2013 the now 34-year old finished eighth in Paris after losing nearly ten minutes in the echelon stage to St Amand-Montrond. He improved considerable in the last week of racing.
With eleven stages to go in this year’s event, there is still everything to play for, especially since all the riders between the second and tenth position are within 1:45 of each other. Though Nibali has almost three minutes on Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta-winner sees opportunities.
"Nibali? He's not unbeatable, of course, but he's proving to be really strong at the moment. The weather conditions suited him perfectly. He’s the one who suffers least in the rain. I was feeling well in these last days, but I don’t like those conditions at all. However, my legs are doing really well. “
Valverde hopes for some sunshine in the next weeks. “If the forecasts are correct, good weather is coming. Theoretically I should be stronger with sun and good temperatures. We got through very important and difficult days so far. Our moment to feel more comfortable and profit from that should come now. Let’s hope it happens.
With everyone still close together Valverde is keeping a close eye on his rivals. “Porte, Pinot, Bardet are dangerous and worry us. If you leave out Wednesday and Thursday which should be more suited to a breakaway, there will be stages where anybody can ‘collapse’ and lose all chances,” Valverde commented.
Just like the majority of his rivals Valverde lost over two minutes on Nibali in the fifth stage to Arenberg. Unlike Michal Kwaitkowski who opted for an attack on Monday, Movistar’s strategy is to not stress and don’t attack for the sake of an attack only. “We must do it when we can hurt our rivals.”