Alejandro Valverde wins GP Miguel Indurain

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) claimed his first victory in 18 months at the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain, going clear on the steep Ibarra 'wall' to collect a record-equalling third title at the one-day race.

The 40-year-old, winner of more than 100 races, hadn't raised his arms since the 2019 Vuelta a España and the relief was palpable as he provided his team's first win of the season in their home region of Navarre and showed there's still life in his own career yet.

Valverde convincingly dropped the Astana duo of Alexey Lutsenko and Luis Leon Sanchez on the late Ibarra climb - 600 metres at 11 per cent - before safely negotiating the equally steep descent to the line.

"This victory is for everyone who has supported me. I'm super happy," Valverde said.

"Thanks to team. It was a complicated one but we tried to control the race from the start and we were able to come away with the win."

Valverde first hit out on the Alto de Eraul - 3.8km at 5.5 per cent - with 10km to do, quickly blowing apart a peloton that still counted 40 members. He accelerated again on the narrow streets at the top of the climb to get across to Sánchez, the last survivor from an earlier move.

Sánchez didn't work with him, since he had teammates Lutsenko and Omar Fraile in what became a 10-man chase group. Lutsenko attacked from it on the Alto de Muru - 1.3km at 4 per cent - but looked to have failed in his efforts when Valverde issued another vicious acceleration just as the Kazakh champion was on the verge of making contact. However, on the descent, Lutsenko did get there, and indeed flew past the Spanish duo to hit the Ibarra wall at full tilt.

The trio soon came back together and it wasn't long before Valverde - a five-time winner of La Flèche Wallonne - made the difference on the punishingly steep gradients.

Lutsenko crossed the line in second place at six seconds, followed by his teammate Sanchez 11 seconds later.

"Astana were one of the strongest teams - we knew that," Valverde said. "Obviously I was worried at the end there. Both of them are very very strong and I knew it would be complicated. Lutsenko went past very fast but we got back on and I was able to put in the final attack."

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Elie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic), Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), and Fraile were all part of that chase group and finished 20 seconds down. Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), who responded to Valverde's first acceleration on the Eraul, lost a little ground on Ibarra but still rounded out the top 10.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 5:10:47
2Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:06
3Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:15
4Peio Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:17
5Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:18
6Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:21
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
9Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
10Laurens De Plus (Bel) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:30
11Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
12Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:31
13Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:00:49
14Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:53
15Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:54
16Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:59
17Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:03
18Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:01:04
19Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie
20Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
21Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:01:06
22Kevin Colleoni (Ita) Team BikeExchange
23Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
24Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:08
25Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
26James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
27Alejandro Osorio Carvajal (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
28Urko Berrade Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:01:14
29Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:01:18
30Frederico Figueiredo (Por) Efapel
31Jose Felix Parra Cuerda (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:01:21
32Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:25
33Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
34Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Total Direct Energie
35Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team
36Nathan Brown (USA) Rally Cycling 0:01:34
37Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:42
38Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:01:59
39Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:02:05
40Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team BikeExchange 0:02:13
41Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:02:22
42Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:46
43Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:40
44Fernando Barceló Aragon (Spa) Cofidis 0:04:50
45Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
46Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
47Jefferson Cepeda Ortiz (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
48Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos Grenadiers
49Jhojan Orlando Garcia Susa (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
50Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:05:57
51Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team
52Thomas Armstrong (GBr) Electro Hiper Europa 0:06:34
53Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
54Sebastian Berwick (Aus) Israel Start-up Nation 0:06:53
55Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:07:01
56Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling 0:08:04
57Mauricio Moreira (Uru) Efapel 0:08:06
58Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:08:28
59Diego Pablo Sevilla Lopez (Spa) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
60Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
61Cristian Camilo Muñoz Lancheros (Col) UAE Team Emirates
62Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH
63Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers
64Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
65Andres Camilo Ardila Ordoñez (Col) UAE Team Emirates
66Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:08:53
67Damien Howson (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:09:13
68Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
69Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:09:31
70Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:09:37
71Diego Lopez Fuentes (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
72Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:09:41
73Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-Bh
74Julen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:10:49
75Ibon Ruiz Sedano (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:10:51
76Raul Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
77Barnabás Peák (Hun) Team BikeExchange 0:13:44
78Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-Samsic
79Sergio Araiz Michel (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:15:05
80Alan Riou (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
81Carlos Canal Blanco (Spa) Burgos-BH
82Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
83Oscar Pelegri Ferrandis (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa
84Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious
85Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
86Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
87Marcos Jurado Rodriguez (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa
88Ibai Azurmendi Sagastibeltza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
89Jon Irisarri Ricon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
90Luca Wackermann (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:20:47
91Robin Plamondon (Can) Israel Cycling Academy
92Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:20:51
93Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
94Juan Diego Alba Bolivar (Col) Movistar Team
95Josu Etxeberria Azpilikueta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

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Patrick Fletcher

Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.

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