Valverde moves up to number one in the UCI WorldTour rankings

Valverde moves up to number one in the UCI WorldTour rankings

Valverde moves up to number one in the UCI WorldTour rankings

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has become the number one rider in the UCI WorldTour individual rankings after winning the Clasica San Sebastian one-day race with a spectacular solo attack.

Valverde was perfectly placed on the new Bordako Tontorra climb overlooking the Basque city and then attacked on the descent, powering to the finish to win alone.

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) of the Netherlands and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) of Spain finished second and third, fighting for the placing in a sprint some 14 seconds behind Valverde. Spain’s Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) finished fourth, while Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), who had joined these riders along with Valverde on the final climb, crashed on the high-speed descent to the finish.

Valverde scored 80 ranking points for his victory and so moved past compatriot Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to top the individual ranking of the UCI WorldTour. Valverde now has a total of 462 points. Contador, who is still recovering from the fractured tibia he suffered during the Tour de France, is second with 407. Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) third at 392 points.

Thanks to Valverde’s victory, his Movistar extended its lead in the UCI WorldTour team ranking. The Spanish squad now has a total of 981 points. The French Ag2r-La Mondiale team is second with 860 points, with Omega Pharma-QuickStep third with 842 points. Spain continues to dominate the nations ranking with 1188 points. France is second with 901 points and Italy is third with 898 points.

Valverde: “I have to be happy”

Valverde secured his second win at the Clasica San Sebastian after also winning in 2008, and his tenth win of the 2014 season. He failed to secure a place on the final podium at the recent Tour de France, slipping to fourth in the final time trial stage but was happy to be top of the UCI WorldTour rankings.

“I like the Clasica San Sebastian, especially with this new final climb. It’s my second victory here, plus I’ve had two other podium places. I’ve won ten races and now I’m first in the UCI WorldTour. I have to be happy” Valverde said. “There’s nothing I can do about the Tour de France result and think I’ve shown what I can do during the rest of the season. The only thing to do was to race hard, as I do every time I get on my bike. The new climb was important and so was the descent. I knew that if I got a few metres it’d be difficult to be caught. I thought Rodriguez and I would fight for victory but then when I went clear alone, the only thing I could do was to give it everything and try to win.”

Valverde will target the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour later this month. The UCI WorldTour continues with the 71st edition of the Tour de Pologne in Poland. The weeklong race begins in northern port of Gdansk, with Solidarnosc leader, former Polish president and Nobel Peace prize winner Lech Walesa officially starting the race.

The Tour de Pologne ends in Krakow on Saturday August 9, with the UCI WorldTour rankings updated immediately after the race.

cycledude (868 Posts)