Feed zone crash may prove costly for Valverde

The good fortune of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) may have run out on Stage 2 of the Volta a Catalunya, with the Spaniard crashing heavily with 55km left to race.

Despite assistance from several teammates, Valverde was unable to regain contact with the peloton and finished 2:09 down on the winning time of Michael Albasini (GreenEdge). In a twist of fate, the front group’s pace was being driven by Omega Pharma – QuickStep who lost out to Movistar’s similar tactics last week at Paris-Nice when Levi Leipheimer crashed on the penultimate stage.

"Just as we were heading out of the feed zone, there was a bottle on the road, the front wheel got over it and I crashed on my right side against a curb," said Valverde in a team statement. "I got on my feet again but I was feeling mostly dizzy after the crash and I lost some time prior to departing again. I was a bit out of consciousness, it was hard to get back on racing pace and that's why it was difficult to bridge."

"These things happen: sometimes everything's good, sometimes everything goes wrong. The route was really good for me, but this is a rider's life. Leaving the bad side apart, we have to be happy. I have much pain, especially on the right side, in my shoulder. Let's see how we rest and wake up to evaluate what we can do tomorrow."

Directeur sportif José Luis Arrieta admitted that the events of Paris-Nice may have worked against the team on Tuesday.

"With so many riders pushing ahead, it was so difficult to bridge the gap," said Arrieta. "There was a lot of interest in stopping the group from catching up by any means and, against a peloton of almost 180 riders, it was impossible to get the gap down. Despite all of that, the team was really good and I personally congratulated them after the stage, because they had to work alone, with no help from others."

Sergio Pardilla was the lone ranger for Movistar in the front group, finishing 6th for the stage. Arrieta remained hopeful that the team could recover somewhat over the following days, with Pardilla well-suited to Stage 3.


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