Ruta del Sol: Valverde claims opening stage

Movistar rider takes first race lead over Poels, Reichenbach

Movistar's Alejandro Valverde won the first stage of the Ruta del Sol Wednesday in Granada. The 36-year-old Spaniard triumphed in a six-man sprint ahead of Team Sky's Wout Poels and Sebastian Reichenbach (FDJ) at the end of a mountainous 155km day of racing in southern Spain.

Valverde attempted to solo clear of a select group going up and over the final climb of the day, but he adjusted his plan after being caught on the descent, taking a convincing win in the sprint.

"We couldn't have started things off in a better way. For the time being, we've got a stage win - everything that comes after this is a gift for us," Valverde said.

"We knew that Contador would be doing well, and he showed he was willing to fight when his team started to take the reigns of the peloton without asking anyone to help them out. He played his cards and really made the difference, yet we defended ourselves well. When we were the two of us alone at the front, it was complicated to keep pushing because his attacks left no room to breathe. Plus, there was a group with three Sky riders pulling, which made it difficult to escape.

"At the end, I decided to give it a try myself into the last slope and I opened a bit of a gap, but it was difficult to make it grow and finish solo, so I chose to wait for Ion and Alberto, who were coming close behind. I was keeping in mind that I was the fastest into such a field sprint, and at the end it was a good result for us - it's the win that counts here."

Berden De Vries (Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij), Georg Preidler (Team Sunweb), Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy), Florian Senechal (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Pablo Torres Muiño (Burgos BH) and Kirill Sveshnikov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) formed the day's main early escape group shortly after the peloton set out from Málaga.

The breakers worked their advantage up to around four and half minutes before the bunch began gradually reeling them in. The climber-friendly terrain saw cohesion break down in the lead group, and all of the breakaway riders were caught by the 34km to go mark, as the pack neared the foot of the decisive final climb of the stage.

Trek-Segafredo's Alberto Contador unleashed a blistering attack on the early slopes of the ascent, initially opening up a gap before Valverde caught onto his wheel. Before long, they were joined by Poels, his Sky teammates Diego Rosa and Mikel Landa, Bahrain-Merida's Ion Izagirre and Cannondale-Drapac's Rigoberto Urán.

Landa was the next to strike, but his attack was short-lived. Contador attempted to get clear once again with around 20km left to go, but couldn't shake the others at the head of the race. Then it was Valverde's turn. The Spaniard broke free of the rest of the lead group near the summit and then began to extend his advantage on the descent. Contador soloed away from the others in hot pursuit.

With a little over 10km left to race, Contador made the catch. Then Rosa and Izagirre caught up as well. From there, the four riders mostly eyed each other, allowing Poels and Reichenbach to join with around 3km to go, setting up a six-man battle for the win.

As the pace picked up for the final sprint, Valverde was already at the front of the group with 200 metres to go. Poels tried coming around on his left but could not quite overtake the Movistar rider, allowing Valverde to nab the win at the finish line.

Valverde will take the race lead into a 177.9km stage 2, which runs from Torredonjimeno to the Alto Peña del Águila climb.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team4:02:28 
2Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky  
3Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ  
4Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky  
5Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
6Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
7Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ0:00:05 
8Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky  
9Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac  
10Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb  
11Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:00:24 
12Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky0:00:31 
13Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
14Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida  
15Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:51 
16Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:01:04 
17Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
18Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
19Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Team Sunweb  
20Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
21Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
22Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
23David Belda (Spa) Burgos BH  
24Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
25Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
26Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
27Michal Schlegel (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
28Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie  
29Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
30Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
31Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb  
32Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac  
33Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
34Hector Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
35Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
36Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team  
37André Cardoso (Por) Trek-Segafredo  
38David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky  
39Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:05 
40Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
41Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
42Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
43Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
44Igor Merino (Spa) Burgos BH  
45Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:06:04 
46Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy  
47Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb  
48Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
49Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ0:07:01 
50Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
51Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team  
52Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
53Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
54Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal  
55Leszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
56Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
57Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team  
58Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
59Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
60Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:09:02 
61Jorge Cubero Galvez (Spa) Burgos BH0:10:00 
62Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
63Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
64Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
65Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
66Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
67Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ  
68Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
69Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb  
70Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky  
71Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Sunweb  
72Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac  
73Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac  
74Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
75Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
76Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac  
77Luis Lemus (Mex) Israel Cycling Academy0:12:00 
78Felix Großschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:12:02 
79Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:13:03 
80Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
81Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
82Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
83Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy  
84Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
85Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
86Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
87Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
88Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
89Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
90Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida  
91Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
92Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team  
93Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
94Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
95Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie  
96Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy  
97Ruben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
98Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy  
99Jens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
100Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
101Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
102Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
103Alexander Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
104Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
105Beñat Txoperena (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
106Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team  
107Aydar Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
108William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
109Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team  
110Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
111Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
112Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
113Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ  
114Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ  
115Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
116Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac  
117Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
118Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie  
119Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
120Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
121Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
122Mark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:14:05 
123Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
124Adrian Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
125Daniel Lopez (Spa) Burgos BH  
126Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie  
127Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
128Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:16:01 
129Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
130Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
131Ibai Salas (Spa) Burgos BH0:17:03 
132Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
133Pello Olaberria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
134José Manuel Díaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy  
135Alvaro Robredo (Spa) Burgos BH  
136Gaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
137Sander Cordeel (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
138Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie0:19:03 
139Gotzon Udondo (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
140Elias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
141Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:20:03 
142Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:20:05 
143Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:21:03 
DNFTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFMarco Jurado (Spa) Burgos BH  
General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team4:02:28 
2Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky  
3Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ  
4Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky  
5Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
6Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
7Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ0:00:05 
8Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky  
9Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac  
10Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb  
11Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:00:24 
12Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky0:00:31 
13Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
14Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida  
15Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:51 
16Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:01:04 
17Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
18Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
19Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Team Sunweb  
20Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
21Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
22Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
23David Belda (Spa) Burgos BH  
24Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
25Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
26Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
27Michal Schlegel (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
28Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie  
29Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
30Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
31Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb  
32Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac  
33Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
34Hector Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
35Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
36Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team  
37André Cardoso (Por) Trek-Segafredo  
38David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky  
39Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:05 
40Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
41Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
42Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
43Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
44Igor Merino (Spa) Burgos BH  
45Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:06:04 
46Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy  
47Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb  
48Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
49Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ0:07:01 
50Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
51Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team  
52Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
53Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
54Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal  
55Leszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
56Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
57Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team  
58Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
59Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo  
60Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:09:02 
61Jorge Cubero Galvez (Spa) Burgos BH0:10:00 
62Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
63Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
64Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
65Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
66Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
67Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ  
68Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
69Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb  
70Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky  
71Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Sunweb  
72Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac  
73Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac  
74Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
75Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
76Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac  
77Luis Lemus (Mex) Israel Cycling Academy0:12:00 
78Felix Großschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:12:02 
79Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:13:03 
80Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
81Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy  
82Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
83Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy  
84Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
85Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
86Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
87Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
88Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
89Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
90Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida  
91Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
92Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team  
93Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
94Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
95Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie  
96Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy  
97Ruben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
98Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy  
99Jens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
100Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
101Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
102Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
103Alexander Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
104Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
105Beñat Txoperena (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
106Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team  
107Aydar Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
108William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ  
109Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team  
110Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
111Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
112Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
113Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ  
114Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ  
115Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie  
116Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac  
117Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
118Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie  
119Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
120Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
121Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
122Mark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:14:05 
123Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
124Adrian Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
125Daniel Lopez (Spa) Burgos BH  
126Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie  
127Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
128Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:16:01 
129Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
130Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
131Ibai Salas (Spa) Burgos BH0:17:03 
132Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo  
133Pello Olaberria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
134José Manuel Díaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy  
135Alvaro Robredo (Spa) Burgos BH  
136Gaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
137Sander Cordeel (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
138Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie0:19:03 
139Gotzon Udondo (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias  
140Elias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
141Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:20:03 
142Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:20:05 
143Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:21:03 

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