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Valverde wins Vuelta Murcia with solo attack

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The Vuelta a Murcia podium: Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)

The Vuelta a Murcia podium: Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) tried to stick with Valverde in Murcia

Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) tried to stick with Valverde in Murcia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde wins the 2017 Vuelta a Murcia

Alejandro Valverde wins the 2017 Vuelta a Murcia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde on the Murcia pdium

Alejandro Valverde on the Murcia pdium
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin) outkicks Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) for second in Murcia

Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin) outkicks Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) for second in Murcia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins the 2017 Vuelta Murcia

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) wins the 2017 Vuelta Murcia
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin) takes the sprint for second place

Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin) takes the sprint for second place
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin)

Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin)
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia – his home race – for a fifth time thanks to an aggressive solo attack some 70km from the finish.

The veteran Spanish rider attacked in the mist on the Collado Bermejo climb and then fought a headwind to win alone, with the rest of the race unable to pull him back. Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin) beat Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) to win the sprint for second place, 2:10 down on Valverde.

The Spanish race has been reduced from a stage race to a one-day affair, but that only seemed to motivate Valverde, who is proud of his Murcia origins.

"It's always special for me to win on home roads – this victory goes to all the people in this region, who always cheer for me so much when I'm racing abroad. It truly is the most beautiful of the five I've achieved here; it was a big effort and so tough to keep up against the wind and the climbs to win here," Valverde said.

Strong winds, hard racing

The strong wind made for a hard day out, splitting the peloton early on. Sam Bewley (Orica-Scott), Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) and Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) formed an early break, but the Movistar team pulled them back, sending out an ominous sign that Valverde was keen to win on home roads.

Movistar brought the race back together at the foot of the Alto Collado Bermejo (8.4km at 6,7 percent) and then Valverde took over despite more than 70km left to race. He attacked at the bottom of the climb, followed by Jon Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Tjesj Benoot and Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Simon Spilak (Katusha) and Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi). However, they failed to get onto his wheel and Valverde took advantage of the misty conditions and local knowledge of the decent to push on alone.

He had a 2:25 lead after the descent, with 35km to go, with the chasers eventually caught by the peloton.

Valverde had been hoping for some help from a small group but decided to push on alone and time trialled to the finish. He reached Murcia with a two-minute lead and so was able to celebrate his solo victory in front of his local crowd.

"I just had to give it a try, even if it was so far away from the finish and it was a long shot, but that was the only point where I could win solo from. I took that chance, and I succeeded."

Ready for the Ruta del Sol

Valverde's victory confirmed he is already on form before riding next week's Ruta del Sol stage race where he will clash with Alberto Contador.

"After Nairo's success in Valencia, things are looking really promising for us this season - it's just taking from where we left off, after we won those four consecutive WorldTour titles all the way up to 2016," Valverde said.

"Now it's about having some rest and taking the start of the Ruta del Sol on Wednesday. There, we'll find Alberto Contador and many other big riders, and we will have to try and continue this streak."

La entrada triunfal de @alejanvalverde en la Gran Vía de Murcia, vía @la7_tv. Su 98; éxito en profesionales. #VueltaCiclistaMurcia2017 pic.twitter.com/jz4PnZNh7H

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team4:03:08
2Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:10
3Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
4Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
6Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
7Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-Scott
8Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
10Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
11Felix Grossschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
12Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie
13Marc Soler Gimenez (Spa) Movistar Team
14Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
15Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
16David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH
17Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
18Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
19Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
20Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Spa) Movistar Team
21Simon Špilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin
22Robert Kišerlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin
23Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:02:25
24Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:04:07
25Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
26Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
27Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
28Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
29Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling0:04:41
30Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
31Egoitz Fernandez Ayarzaguena (Spa) Team UKYO
32Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
33Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
34Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
35Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
36Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
37Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
38Alexander Aranburu Deva (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
39Antonio Molina Canet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
40Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
41Christopher Butler (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
42Salvador Guardiola (Spa) Team UKYO
43Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
44Sepp Kuss (USA) Rally Cycling
45Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
46Brian Nauleau (Fra) Direct Energie
47Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
48Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49Beñat Txoperena Matxikote (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
50Igor Merino Kortazar (Spa) Burgos-BH
51Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
52Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
53Robert Britton (Can) Rally Cycling
54Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling
55Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
56José Mendes (Por) Bora-Hansgrohe
57Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
58Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
59Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie0:11:07
60Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
61Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal
62Paul Ourselin (Fra) Direct Energie
63Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
64Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
65David Per (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
66Rayane Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
67Ivan Moreno Sanchez (Spa) Spain
68Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
69Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
70Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
71Ibai Salas Zorrozua (Spa) Burgos-BH
72Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling
73Jens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
74Antonio Pedrero Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
75Marcin Mrozek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
76Oscar Pujol (Spa) Team UKYO
77Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
78Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott
79Alexander Foliforov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
80Benjami Prades (Spa) Team UKYO
81Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
82Benjami Prades (Spa) Team UKYO
83Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
84Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:21:07
85Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:21:11
86Justin Oien (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:25:54
87Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott
88Eduardo Llacer Gabarron (Spa) Spain
89Miguel Angel Ballesteros Canovas (Spa) Spain
90Ruben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
91Jeremy Cornu (Fra) Direct Energie
92Ángel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha-Alpecin
93Piotr Brozyna (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
94Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
95Leszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
96Imanol Estevez Salas (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias0:29:53
97Julen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
98Jose Daniel Viejo Redondo (Spa) Unieuro Trevigiani - Hemus 1896
99Marcos Jurado Rodriguez (Spa) Spain
100Josu Zabala Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
101Adrian Gonzalez Velasco (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
102José Carlos Nuñez (Spa) Dare Viator Partizan
103Igor Boev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
104Jarl Salomein (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
105Marco Mathis (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
106Tim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
107Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-Scott
108Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
109Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
110Danny Pate (USA) Rally Cycling
111Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:30:19
112Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
113Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
114Tanzou Tokuda (Jpn) Team UKYO
DNFJorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
DNFYoshimitsu Hiratsuka (Jpn) Team UKYO
DNFRomain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott
DNFJan Bárta (Cze) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFSilvio Herklotz (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFRaul Castrillo Sedano (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFAlvaro Robredo Crespo (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFJoan Ruiz Vicens (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFJavier Fuentes Jorda (Spa) Spain
DNFRuben Montoya Lopez (Spa) Spain
DNFEusebio Pascual Bonhome (Spa) Spain
DNFCarlos Lorente Garcia (Spa) Dare Viator Partizan
DNFJavier Valero Amat (Spa) Dare Viator Partizan
DNFÓscar Sánchez (Spa) Dare Viator Partizan
DNFMiguel Calatayud Feo (Spa) Dare Viator Partizan
DNFFrancisco Jose Castello Dobon (Spa) Dare Viator Partizan
DNFAnder Barrenetxea Uriarte (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
DNFIon Ander Insausti Irastorza (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
DNFEric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFEvgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
DNFYusuke Hatanaka (Jpn) Team UKYO

Mountains Classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team13pts
2Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain - Merida8
3Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team6
4Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal4
5Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin2
6Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal2
7Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team2
8Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin1
9Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe1
10Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team1

Sprint Classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team3pts
2Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-Scott3
3Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team2
4Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie2
5Ruben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise1
6Chris Juul Jensen (Den) Orica - Scott1

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