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Valverde helps Movistar seal third WorldTour team victory

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Alejandro Valverde was one of the pre race favourites

Alejandro Valverde was one of the pre race favourites
(Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana before the start of stage 12.

Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana before the start of stage 12.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Movistar teammates Nairo Quintana and Javier Moreno

Movistar teammates Nairo Quintana and Javier Moreno
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Alex Dowsett and Movistar on the podium

Alex Dowsett and Movistar on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Movistar team in the TTT

The Movistar team in the TTT
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Alejandro Valverde might have missed out on a podium at Sunday’s Il Lombardia, but his fourth place was enough to ensure that his Movistar team secured the WorldTour team ranking for the third year running.

Valverde had already cemented his place at the top of the individual rankings ahead of the race, giving the Spanish outfit their second WorldTour double. Valverde had gone into the race as the favourite but was unable to match late attacks. He was forced to battle it out for the minor placings but it proved enough for Movistar to edge out Katusha by a narrow 13-point margin, despite a second place for Daniel Moreno.

"It has been a long and intense year and we had to give it our all in everything, one last effort to crown this great season," said Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzué. “We were looking to be attentive in all the phases so that no attacks caught us by surprise.

"After the Ghisallo, the race was done at the rhythm of Astana; they were doing a lot of work for the victory and then near the final Dani (Moreno) seemed like the stronger man, who could have put us in difficulty in the WorldTour (rankings). Alejandro, who was already about to suffer from cramps, endured and knew how to measure himself without forcing more than necessary and didn’t pull, if he’d been able to go with Nibali then he knew he could have stayed with his rival as he has done before."

Second place for Katusha team is their best ever finish in the competition. Katusha had been leading the competition just a few weeks ago but Movistar’s bronze medal winning performance in the World Championship team time trial – matched with Katusha’s poor showing – saw them move back up to the top of the table. They went into Il Lombardia, the final WorldTour race on the calendar, with a small lead over Katusha.

The latter suffered a serious blow to their chances after Joaquim Rodríguez was forced to pull out of the race on Saturday morning following a collision with a signpost during training. Daniel Moreno, who is set to leave Katusha at the end of the season, was in strong form though and looked like he could deliver Katusha the race and WorldTour win. However, Valverde didn’t give up and beat Astana’s Diego Rosa in the sprint for fourth place.

Movistar have had a bumper season, with both Valverde and Nairo Quintana making it onto the podium at the Tour de France, while Valverde also took victories at Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Valverde extended his lead over Rodriguez in the individual rankings at Il Lombardia, to bring his winning margin to 201 points. He and Rodriguez’s performances throughout the season have helped to seal Spain their sixth overall win in a dominating fashion.

Team Ranking

#TeamPoints
1Movistar Team1619pts
2Team Katusha1606
3Team Sky1378
4Etixx - Quick-Step1158
5Astana Pro Team1106
6BMC Racing Team1010
7Tinkoff-Saxo929
8Orica GreenEdge845
9Lotto Soudal832
10Team Giant-Alpecin769
11AG2R La Mondiale587
12Lampre-Merida566
13Trek Factory Racing529
14Team LottoNL-Jumbo485
15FDJ.fr439
16Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team340
17IAM Cycling189

Individual Rankings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamPoints
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team675pts
2Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha474
3Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team457
4Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha453
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team448
6Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky430
7Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo407
8Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team324
9Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida324
10Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr319
11Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky314
12John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin302
13Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step301
14Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky283
15Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin271
16Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha269
17Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo257
18Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale242
19Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team238
20Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge221

Nation Ranking
#CountryPoints
1Spain1945pts
2Italy1106
3Colombia1099
4Great Britain1041
5Belgium905
6France881
7Netherlands848
8Australia777
9Germany587
10Norway453
11Poland376
12Portugal355
13Czech Republic306
14Slovenia294
15Switzerland270
16Slovakia257
17Russia257
18United States158
19Denmark115
20Ireland111