Valverde on track for April races

Alejandro Valverde is satisfied with his current form, just a few weeks ahead of his big objectives...

Alejandro Valverde is satisfied with his current form, just a few weeks ahead of his big objectives in Belgium this April. After finishing third overall at the Criterium International this Sunday, the rider known as 'El Imbatido' (the unbeatable) was happy with the result even though he had been rated as a favourite for the victory.

In the second, hilly stage of the race on Sunday morning, it was CSC's Jens Voigt who took control, putting an incredible 48 seconds between himself and the other contenders just before the short, sharp time trial in the afternoon. Caisse d'Epargne spent many kilometres trying to bridge the gap to the German rider but Voigt's effort was simply too impressive and he was not to be caught.

"I want to thank my teammates because they did a great job to try to catch Voigt," said Valverde after the stage. "The Astana riders helped us in the finale but it was already too late against a rider like Voigt who is so strong and so skilled. He really deserved his win. Personally I am satisfied with my condition considering the fact that the Walloon classics are getting closer. They are my great objective in April."

In the final stage time trial, Valverde showed that he has greatly improved his skills against the clock, finishing second behind an astonishing Thomas Lövkvist (Française des Jeux), who was three seconds faster. "I am satisfied with my time," Valverde noted. "It confirms that I have improved a lot in this discipline and to be faster than some specialists like Julich, Klöden and Voigt is very good for the future. I have good reason to be confident."

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