An attack from Alejandro Valverde on the final climb of the Ruta del Sol saw the Spanish national champion snatch overall victory from Tejay van Garderen, netting his fourth overall win at the race. Valverde described the stage and overall double as the "the most satisfying of them all." Victory in the stage 4 time trial saw van Garderen start the final stage of the race with a 22 second advantage over Valverde.
BMC and Team Sky ensured a high pace leading into and on the early slopes of the Peñas Blancas before Movistar's Dani Moreno briefly jumped clear as Valverde then made his winning move with 7km to race. Valverde's 15-second lead after one kilometre quickly doubled to see him become the virtual leader on the road and by the time he arrived at the finish, a fourth title was secure with van Garderen 48 seconds in arrears.
The win was the first of 2016 for the 35-year-old which he dedicated to Italian teammate Adriano Malori who continues to recover from injuries sustained at the Tour de San Luis last month. "It's totally for him, and for the support I've had from the team, too," Valverde said.
For stage reports, results and galleries from all five stages of the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol, click here
Alberto Contador made it an afternoon for the experienced Spanish brigade as he too took his first win of the season on the hill top finish of Alto do Malhao at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta. Overall leader Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) was distanced on the climb, finishing almost 20 minutes down on Contador, opening the door for Geraint Thomas to successfully defend his overall title in a year that he is aiming to transition into a full-time GC rider.
Stage 4 of the race belonged to Marcel Kittel with the German continuing his good start to his Etixx-Quick Step career as he sprinted to his fourth stage win of 2016. Kittel, who earlier had won stage 1 of the race to take the first leader's jersey of the race, dominated the finale to win by several lengths over Wouter Wippert (Cannondale).
For stage reports, results and galleries from all five stages of the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta, click here
Alexander Kristoff continued his impressive early-season form in the middle east as he grabbed his fifth win of the year and second of the race in Matrah Corniche. The Katusha rider beat Giant-Alpecin duo Zico Waeytens and Søren Kragh Andersen to the victory. Vincenzo Nibali finished safely in the bunch to claim his first overall victory since the 2014 Tour de France.
Kristoff wasn't the only Norwegian making his mark in the race with Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinting to Stage 5 success on Saturday. The win was Boasson Hagen's second of the race after his stage win in Quriyat that saw the Dimension Data rider also move into the overall race lead.
Stage 4 saw the peloton tackle the queen stage of the Tour of Oman with the finish up Green Mountain. Having won the stage in 2012, Nibali was again the man to beat on the challenging early-season climb with Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) the closest challenger for the Astana rider. Nibali's teammate Jakob Fuglsang finished third with the podium positions remaining unchanged over the weekend.
For stage reports, results, galleries and video highlights from all six stages of the Tour of Oman, click here
The two-day Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var-matin saw Tom-Jelte Slagter win his first race of the season. The Cannondale rider's first win of his career was at the Tour Down Under, where he also won the overall, followed by a brace of stage wins at Paris-Nice and Tour of Alberta but there was no second win in France as Slagter was caught in a late split on stage 2 to lose his yellow jersey to Arthur Vichot.
Vichot had previously won the race overall in 2013 but hadn't won a race since the 2014 Paris-Nice, the same edition on which Slagter won two stages. The FDJ rider was overcome with emotion as he realised the stage win brought about the overall having finished second on stage 1. The race also marked Taylor Phinney's return to racing for the new season with the American safely getting through the race in 57th overall.
For stage reports, results and galleries from both stages of the Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var-matin, click here
Team Illuminate's Edwin Avila upset his WorldTour rivals to claim a debut Colombian national road race title. A world champion on the track in the points race, Avila won the title ahead of Team Sky's Sergio Henao and Jose Sarmiento (EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana).
For the elite men's road race results, click here
After a string of podium places, Kevin Pauwels finally claimed his first victory since November last year in the final race of the season. Pauwels managed to get away from the rest of the pack, beating World Champion Wout Van Aert by eight seconds.
Van Aert went toe to toe with Tom Meeusen, with the former coming out the better off by a single second. Meeusen’s third place ensured an all Belgium podium in Oostmalle.
Much of Belgium’s attention was elsewhere, however, as Sven Nys brought his illustrious career to a close. There will be a number of farewell events for the 39-year-old, but Oosmalle was his last competitive race. He crossed the line down in 25th over three minutes behind Pauwels.
In the women’s event Sanne Cant gave the home fans even more to cheer about when she claimed an emphatic victory ahead of compatriot Loes Sels. The Netherlands’ Maud Kaptheijns slotted into third place 50 seconds behind Cant.
For all results from all four Internationale Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle races, click here
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