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Vuelta Rider Gallery: Alejandro Valverde

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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) joins his teammates on a lap of the GP circuit that will play host to the Vuelta prologue

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) joins his teammates on a lap of the GP circuit that will play host to the Vuelta prologue (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) rolls off

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) rolls off (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: DCP/Bert Geerts)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparnge)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparnge) (Image credit: Elmar Krings)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), r, rides next to teammate Joaquím Rodríguez.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), r, rides next to teammate Joaquím Rodríguez. (Image credit: Lavuelta.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) during the Valencia time trial Saturday.

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) during the Valencia time trial Saturday. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Lavuelta.com)
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Basso and Valverde wait for the climb before pulling off the gloves.

Basso and Valverde wait for the climb before pulling off the gloves. (Image credit: Lavuelta.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) sprints to the line

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) sprints to the line (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) crosses the line ahead of David de la Fuente (Fuji-Servetto), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) crosses the line ahead of David de la Fuente (Fuji-Servetto), Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) turns to inspect the damage of his final sprint

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) turns to inspect the damage of his final sprint (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) is congratulated on the podium by Abraham Olano

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) is congratulated on the podium by Abraham Olano (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) accepts the gold jersey

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) accepts the gold jersey (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne) does his loyal duty for Alejandro Valverde as they absorb almost all of the early breakaway

Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne) does his loyal duty for Alejandro Valverde as they absorb almost all of the early breakaway (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquin Rodriguez leads his Caisse d'Epargne captain Alejandro Valverde on the slopes of the Xorret del Cati

Joaquin Rodriguez leads his Caisse d'Epargne captain Alejandro Valverde on the slopes of the Xorret del Cati (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) leads Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) leads Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) with his twin boys in his hometown of Murcia, Spain

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) with his twin boys in his hometown of Murcia, Spain (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) remains race leader, his second day at the 2009 Vuelta a España, 11th career.

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) remains race leader, his second day at the 2009 Vuelta a España, 11th career. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) has some space to himself on the descent

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) has some space to himself on the descent (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) multi-tasks: accepting the applause of the crowd as he carries out his parental duties

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) multi-tasks: accepting the applause of the crowd as he carries out his parental duties (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde gets his golden jersey from Miguel Indurain.

Alejandro Valverde gets his golden jersey from Miguel Indurain. (Image credit: Lavuelta.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) claimed the white jersey for the combination classification.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) claimed the white jersey for the combination classification. (Image credit: Lavuelta.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Lavuelta.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) couldn't catch the two off the front.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) couldn't catch the two off the front. (Image credit: sirott)
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Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: sirott)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) goes for the time bonus seconds.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) goes for the time bonus seconds. (Image credit: sirott)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) sits in the bunch.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) sits in the bunch. (Image credit: AFP)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) gets into his fresh gold jersey. He keeps the race lead.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) gets into his fresh gold jersey. He keeps the race lead. (Image credit: AFP)
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Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) rides in gold

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) rides in gold (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde was well protected by his Caisse d'Epargne teammates on the climb

Alejandro Valverde was well protected by his Caisse d'Epargne teammates on the climb (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) climbs the Velefique

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) climbs the Velefique (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) is surrounded at the finish in Velefique

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) is surrounded at the finish in Velefique (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) at the finish

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) at the finish (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) answered most of the questions that were asked of him on La Pandera

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) answered most of the questions that were asked of him on La Pandera (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) marks Robert Gesink's (Rabobank) rear wheel as the summit approaches

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) marks Robert Gesink's (Rabobank) rear wheel as the summit approaches (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) fought hard on the final climb

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) fought hard on the final climb (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) took a big step towards overall victory today on La Pandera

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) took a big step towards overall victory today on La Pandera (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) finishes the 14th stage of the Vuelta, his lead intact

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) finishes the 14th stage of the Vuelta, his lead intact (Image credit: Sirotti)

The Vuelta is perhaps the biggest thorn in the side of Alejandro Valverde's career. Four top-five finishes out of four Vuelta participations; a formidable record that he was determined to improve upon at the start of this year's race.

Absence from the Tour de France in July may equate to a big advantage as a well prepared, highly motivated Valverde lined up in Assen on the final Saturday in August. His proven track record at his home Grand Tour requires just one final boost. His performance and these images will tell the tale.

Click here for an image gallery of Alejandro Valverde's Vuelta a España.

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