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Valverde: Sprinters missed their chance

Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: AFP)

Tour de France contender Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) believes the sprinting teams missed their chance on Stage 3 of the Tour de France. Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne squad was happy to let the yellow jersey go to the breakaway of riders, who won't pose a general classification threat once the mountains arrived.

The Spaniard was however surprised that the sprinter's teams didn't work on the front sooner to set up a sprint finish. "One more time, the stage was hard because of the wind," he said. "We controlled the race in its first part. In the final, we thought that the teams of the sprinters would co-operate some more to chase behind the breakers but they did not seize the opportunity they had to win a stage, despite the fact that the course suited them perfectly.

Valverde expected to lose the yellow jersey on this week. As soon as the peloton crossed the start line on the third stage a group of four got away, and managed to stay down the road through to the stage finish.

"We knew that if it was not today we were supposed to lose the yellow jersey [we would] tomorrow, so that does not change a lot of things for us," he said. "For me the goal was to start later than the other big favorites tomorrow so that I can be informed of the gaps during the race and it will be the case."

The Spanish rider believes the time trial will be suited to his style. Valverde has already contested the course once, in the Cholet-Pays de Loire earlier this year.

"I think it is a good one for me," he said. "Not too long, with less than 30 kilometers and rather technical. The kind of time trial I like."

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