Valverde smokes Ruta del Sol prologue

Spaniard hurtles to race lead

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) hurled himself through the roundabout-riddled Ruta del Sol prologue, taking a crushing seven second victory on the 7.3km course in Almería.

The Spaniard was going so fast that he caught his lead motorcycle in a turn, and had to dive around the bike as he hurtled to the stage win and race lead, seven seconds faster than Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and another two seconds quicker than his teammate, Jon Izagirre.

It was the second straight prologue win in the Ruta del Sol for Valverde. Last year he won by two seconds, and held the jersey through to the overall victory.

"I'm the first one who's surprised about this result, not only because of the win but also due to the time gaps against such rivals, in such a short time trial," Valverde said. "I knew I was doing well with my form, but I didn't know how good. Profiting from our training camp in Almería, we came here on Monday to try the course. We reconnoitered it twice and I rode through it this morning with closed roads. I quite liked it because it had some changes of pace."

Although Valverde is pleased to have a baker's dozen of seconds over the Sky rivals, he acknowledged that it will be tough to keep the lead over the coming days.

"I'm back in the lead here, but there's a really hard race ahead of us. We'll go day by day, trying to keep the team together and doing well. The rivals will have to better us and we'll make it hard for them. I didn't prepare myself really hard to perform well this early in the season, but as I always say, it's easy for me to get into racing form, and the previous months, apart from some days with high fever after Dubai, didn't mean any troubles for me."

Dumoulin, who has yet to rack up his first victory since joining the WorldTour after three second places in 2013 was disappointed to miss out again.

"I'm becoming a collector of second places now, after last season," Dumoulin said. "The legs were good and I don't know where I could have made up the time, he was just faster than me on that course.

"The bike felt super fast and I felt strong so hopefully the win won't be far off – I'm done with second places now."

Team Sky stacked their GC men in the top 10, with Vasili Kiryienka, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins taking the next three spots, all within a second of each other 13 and 14 seconds behind Valverde. Javi Moreno (Movistar) slotted in at 7th ahead of Sky's Richie Porte.
Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) and Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) rounded out the top 10.

Sky directeur sportif Dario Cioni was pleased with the team's showing, and its position in the overall classification.

"Everyone did a good TT out there today," he said. "We're just missing the final punch but I think today it was more of a case of Valverde, Dumoulin and some of the others doing really good times.

"We've got a lot of guys up there on the GC and it's still very wide open. Today was the warm-up for some interesting stages to come. Tactically it's also not a bad option not to have the leader's jersey. We can approach tomorrow in a different way and we'll see what happens. Everyone is looking forward to it."

Valverde came into the race as the winner of last year’s prologue and the defending champion from last year’s race as well. It was Kiryienka who set the first serious marker of the day though, the former worlds TT medallist skipping through the turns and turning on the afterburners on any straight section he could.

Thomas was unable to take top spot but when Wiggins rolled down the start ramp and showed his intent with a blistering opening section it looked as though he would take over at the top of the leaderboard.

However, Wiggins fell short and it was Izagirre who took an unexpected lead. The Spaniard laid the perfect foundations for Valverde, who set off last. Dumoulin briefly threatened to steal the show with a highly impressive ride but Valverde was too strong.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:08:22 
2Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant Shimano0:00:07 
3Jon Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:09 
4Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:00:13 
5Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:00:14 
6Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky  
7Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky0:00:15 
8Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team  
9Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant Shimano0:00:16 
10Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
11Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA0:00:17 
12Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:18 
13Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky0:00:19 
14Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant Shimano0:00:20 
15Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:00:21 
16Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team  
17Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team  
18Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
19Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team  
20Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
21Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky0:00:24 
22Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
23Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant Shimano  
24Danilo Hondo (Ger) Trek Factory Racing  
25Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:25 
26Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:26 
27Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
28Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:27 
29Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
30Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky0:00:28 
31Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol0:00:29 
32Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
33Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing  
34Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) ETIXX  
35Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:30 
36Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
37Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
38Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:31 
39Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
40Rubén Plaza (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:32 
41Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:33 
42José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team  
43Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant Shimano  
44Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant Shimano  
45Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
46Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
47Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:34 
48Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
49Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:35 
50Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
51Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
52Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
53Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Giant Shimano  
54Illart Zuazubiskar (Spa) Euskadi0:00:36 
55Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
56Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
57Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
58Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:37 
59Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing  
60Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
61Samuel Spokes (Aus) ETIXX0:00:38 
62Sergio Pardilla Bellón (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka  
63Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
64Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:39 
65Emiel Dolfsma (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
66Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
67Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
68Linus Gerdemann (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:40 
69Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team  
70Pablo Lechuga (Spa) Euskadi  
71Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:41 
72Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
73Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:42 
74Edwing Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
75Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
76Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
77Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskadi0:00:43 
78Stephane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
79Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing0:00:44 
80Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) ETIXX  
81Jordi Simon Casulleras (Spa) Team Ecuador  
82Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
83Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:45 
84Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
85Haritz Orbe Urrutia (Spa) Euskadi  
86Ivar Slik (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:00:46 
87Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:47 
88Nico Sijmens (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
89Antonio Piedra (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA0:00:48 
90Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) ETIXX  
91Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:49 
92Alexis Guerin (Fra) ETIXX  
93Beñat Txoperena (Spa) Euskadi  
94Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:50 
95Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
96Merijn Korevaar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
97Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:51 
98Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
99Jesús Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Activejet Team0:00:52 
100Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:53 
101Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk0:00:54 
102Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
103Marcos García (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA0:00:55 
104Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:56 
105Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
106David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
107Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
108Carlos Barbero (Spa) Euskadi  
109David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
110Jon Larrinaga (Spa) Euskadi0:00:59 
111Tim Kerkhof (Ned) ETIXX0:01:00 
112Jaume Rovira Pous (Spa) Team Ecuador0:01:04 
113Pawel Franczak (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:05 
114Javier Aramendia (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
115Bayron Guama De La Cruz (Ecu) Team Ecuador  
116Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:06 
117Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:01:07 
118Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
119Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
120Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:09 
121Mario González Salas (Spa) Activejet Team0:01:10 
122Pavel Brylowski (Pol) Activejet Team  
123Segundo Navarrete (Ecu) Team Ecuador0:01:13 
124Alvaro Cuadros (Spa) ETIXX0:01:14 
125Michel Podlaski (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:15 
126Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
127Juan Carlos Ragonessi (Ecu) Team Ecuador0:01:16 
128Pablo Miguel Hidalgo Vega (Ecu) Team Ecuador0:01:24 
129Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:01:27 
130Emanuel Piaskowy (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:30 
131Arakdiusz Owsian (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:36 
132Isaac Carbonell Rabat (Spa) Team Ecuador0:02:10 
133Piotr Havik (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:02:32 
General classification after prologue
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:08:22 
2Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant Shimano0:00:07 
3Jon Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:09 
4Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:00:13 
5Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:00:14 
6Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky  
7Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky0:00:15 
8Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team  
9Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant Shimano0:00:16 
10Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
11Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA0:00:17 
12Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:18 
13Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky0:00:19 
14Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant Shimano0:00:20 
15Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing0:00:21 
16Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team  
17Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team  
18Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
19Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team  
20Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
21Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky0:00:24 
22Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
23Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant Shimano  
24Danilo Hondo (Ger) Trek Factory Racing  
25Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:25 
26Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:26 
27Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
28Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:27 
29Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
30Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky0:00:28 
31Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol0:00:29 
32Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
33Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing  
34Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) ETIXX  
35Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:30 
36Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
37Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
38Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:31 
39Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
40Rubén Plaza (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:32 
41Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:33 
42José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team  
43Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant Shimano  
44Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant Shimano  
45Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
46Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
47Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:34 
48Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
49Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:35 
50Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
51Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
52Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
53Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Giant Shimano  
54Illart Zuazubiskar (Spa) Euskadi0:00:36 
55Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
56Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
57Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
58Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:37 
59Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing  
60Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
61Samuel Spokes (Aus) ETIXX0:00:38 
62Sergio Pardilla Bellón (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka  
63Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
64Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:39 
65Emiel Dolfsma (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
66Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
67Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
68Linus Gerdemann (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:40 
69Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team  
70Pablo Lechuga (Spa) Euskadi  
71Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:41 
72Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
73Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka0:00:42 
74Edwing Cammaerts (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
75Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
76Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
77Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskadi0:00:43 
78Stephane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
79Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing0:00:44 
80Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) ETIXX  
81Jordi Simon Casulleras (Spa) Team Ecuador  
82Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
83Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:00:45 
84Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
85Haritz Orbe Urrutia (Spa) Euskadi  
86Ivar Slik (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:00:46 
87Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:47 
88Nico Sijmens (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
89Antonio Piedra (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA0:00:48 
90Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) ETIXX  
91Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:49 
92Alexis Guerin (Fra) ETIXX  
93Beñat Txoperena (Spa) Euskadi  
94Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:50 
95Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice  
96Merijn Korevaar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
97Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:00:51 
98Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Rabobank Development Team  
99Jesús Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Activejet Team0:00:52 
100Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:53 
101Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk0:00:54 
102Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
103Marcos García (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA0:00:55 
104Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:56 
105Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk  
106David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk  
107Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk  
108Carlos Barbero (Spa) Euskadi  
109David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
110Jon Larrinaga (Spa) Euskadi0:00:59 
111Tim Kerkhof (Ned) ETIXX0:01:00 
112Jaume Rovira Pous (Spa) Team Ecuador0:01:04 
113Pawel Franczak (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:05 
114Javier Aramendia (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
115Bayron Guama De La Cruz (Ecu) Team Ecuador  
116Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:06 
117Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:01:07 
118Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
119Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA  
120Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk0:01:09 
121Mario González Salas (Spa) Activejet Team0:01:10 
122Pavel Brylowski (Pol) Activejet Team  
123Segundo Navarrete (Ecu) Team Ecuador0:01:13 
124Alvaro Cuadros (Spa) ETIXX0:01:14 
125Michel Podlaski (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:15 
126Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
127Juan Carlos Ragonessi (Ecu) Team Ecuador0:01:16 
128Pablo Miguel Hidalgo Vega (Ecu) Team Ecuador0:01:24 
129Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:01:27 
130Emanuel Piaskowy (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:30 
131Arakdiusz Owsian (Pol) Activejet Team0:01:36 
132Isaac Carbonell Rabat (Spa) Team Ecuador0:02:10 
133Piotr Havik (Ned) Rabobank Development Team0:02:32 

 

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