Bahamontes: Valverde should try to win the Tour de France in 2016

Alejandro Valverde attacks during stage 20

Alejandro Valverde attacks during stage 20

Federico Martín Bahamontes has urged Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to try to improve on his third place in the 2015 Tour de France and go for the overall win next July.

Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE, Bahamontes predicted Valverde "will go for another Tour, because if he's finished third, then it's his obligation to go for second or first."

Bahamontes was particularly impressed that Valverde could do so well in the Tour de France, taking his best ever overall result in a race in which the rider fro Murcia first shone with a mountain top stage win at Courchevel in 2005, "after what's been a very race heavy season so far." Warming to his case, Bahamontes added that Valverde "should have done the same as Quintana and have rested more before the Tour."

Rated the best Tour de France climber in history, Bahamontes argued to EFE that "it's been a Tour with a lot of contenders, and the rider who was strongest physically was not [Tour winner Chris] Froome (Sky), but [Nairo] Quintana (Movistar)."

"However, what I like to see is riders on the attack from the foot of the climbs, he [Quintana] is a great climber, but I prefer [Vincenzo] Nibali's way of racing."

"When you're a climber, you have to attack, then when they catch you, attack again and on the third attack, that's when you'll drop them."

However, Bahamontes blamed the rising influence of sports directors on what he felt was a lack of hardfought battles in the Tour, "because the [team sports] director is the one who controls everything, there's no fighting anymore, because they're too scared of losing riders and they want to get to Paris with the entire team."

The 1959 Tour de France winner added that in his opinion "either [Alberto] Contador has been resting on his laurels, or he's had a very hard Giro d'Italia" - which then affected the Spaniard's performance in the Tour.

As he has done in the past, Bahamontes once again argued that Spanish cycling is living on borrowed time pointing out to EFE that "either they restructure things or we aren't going to have any young riders coming up, because when Contador, Valverde and [Purito] Rodriguez (Katusha) retire, there's nobody else behind."

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