Skip to main content

Volta a Catalunya: Valverde ready to pounce after second place on stage 2

At 38 years old – and turning 39 next month – Movistar's Alejandro Valverde continues to demonstrate his diversity, sprinting to second place behind winner Michael Matthews (Sunweb) on the uphill finish to Tuesday's second stage at the Volta a Catalunya before now turning his attention to Wednesday's summit finish on the Vallter 2000 climb.

Valverde also only narrowly missed the crash that brought down Team Sky's Chris Froome and Bora-Hansgrohe pair Jay McCarthy and Andreas Schillinger with 40km left of stage 2 to go.

"It was a very dangerous, twisty finale," Valverde said of Tuesday's stage in a team press release. "After the first passage through the finish line, into a small descent before the final kilometre and the last straight, there was a crash with Froome and a Bora rider.

"I was riding just behind Froome, and even though I didn't touch either him or the Bora rider, the latter's bike hit my left hand and caused a small cut, which hurts quite a bit," he explained.

The road race world champion may have been unable to beat Matthews in the subsequent sprint finish, but has now moved up from fourth to second place overall, having also taken the bonus seconds at the final intermediate sprint with just 7km left of the stage to race, which knocked another three seconds off his overall time.

Valverde will now concentrate on potentially taking the race lead on stage 3's summit finish at Vallter 2000 on Wednesday. The Spanish rider still trails race leader Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) by 2:47, but that could very easily be erased – or very nearly erased, at least – on the day's final climb.

Teammate Nairo Quintana, who took a two-second time bonus for having finished second behind Valverde at the final intermediate sprint, is also poised to take the race lead and secure a good overall finish in Barcelona next Monday, and is currently in sixth place overall, nine seconds behind Valverde.

The chances of either Valverde or Quintana taking the race lead by the end of Wednesday afternoon are high, but that will require at least one of them outmanoeuvring the likes of Jumbo-Visma's Steven Kruijswijk and Team Sky's Egan Bernal, who both sit just a second behind Quintana within the top 10 overall, while Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Groupama-FDJ's Thibaut Pinot are a further second back, in 19th and 25th, respectively.

"My body is reacting well to the recent efforts," Valverde said, "and the team is working perfectly, so let's see what we can do in Vallter tomorrow [Wednesday]."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.