Valverde: I'm not sure I can win Flanders but I'll be back

Ahead of his debut ride at the Tour of Flanders, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) reserved judgement on whether or not it was a mistake not to have ridden De Ronde sooner. "On Sunday I'll either tell you I came here too late, or that it's not a race for me," the world champion said on Friday. In the end, as he crossed the finish line in Oudenaarde in eighth place, it was it was not quite one or the other, but something in between.

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Patrick Fletcher

Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.