Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde may not have been too pleased to add another second place to his results at Il Lombardia on Sunday but at least it was enough to bump him into the lead of the UCI WorldTour rankings.
“I had the legs to win the race and I’m a bit sad about that but nothing is taken for granted in pro cycling,” Valverde said. “I’m happy about today’s result because the team worked well, I accomplished the goal of getting back into the WorldTour lead and these 66 points are good ahead of the final race. We’ll see how we manage to profit the most from Beijing.”
His nearest rival, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was leading the standings heading into Il Lombardia, however, he dropped to second after he crashed and was eliminated on the final climb, finishing the race in 34th place and out of the points standings.
Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) took a surprise late-race flyer to win Il Lombardia, which left Valverde scrambling for second place ahead of Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and the rest of a small chase group. Valverde finished second place in the previous year’s edition of the race as well.
“Everyone was looking at me when Martin attacked, they left all responsibility on my shoulders to go after him. I just couldn’t control everything in the end and we had to sprint for second place, which we achieved.”
Valverde took 80 points for his podium performance and is now leading the WorldTour ranks with a total of 686 points, 66 points more than runner-up Contador and 208 points more than Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in third.
There is only one race left on the WorldTour at the Tour of Beijing held from October 10 to 14 and both Valverde and Contador are expected to be participating.