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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.

Valverde went on to say that by analysing the time splits he realized that most of Vinokourov's gains came in the first 17 kilometres. After that he held steady against the strong performance of the Astana leader. Valverde also acknowledged that he doesn't like to warm up too much when the weather is hot. "Maybe I made a mistake [by not warming up too much], but I am happy [with my race] anyway."

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