Valverde sees performance positive

Alejandro Valverde finished 1'18" behind Kazakhstan's duo of winner Alexandre Vinokourov and runner-up Andrey Kashechkin, both from the Astana squad, in yesterday's time trial in the Dauphiné Libéré. But he was not unhappy with the time difference, saying that "the gaps are not very important between the other riders who are here to prepare the Tour."

He did acknowledge that the two Astana riders "confirmed their possibilities in the time trial." But he also made clear that this was his first long time trial since the Vuelta a España last year and the French race is his first competitive encounter after taking off a few weeks from racing.

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