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Ruta del Sol 2017 Stage 1

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photo credit @ Team Movistar

Four-time winner of the Ruta del Sol, Alejandro Valverde, claimed today’s opening stage, after handily beating Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) during a final sprint for the line. 

Race Highlights

Georg Preidler (Team Sunweb) Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Florian Sénéchal (Cofidis), Berden de Vries (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Daniel Turek (Israel Cycling Academy), Krill Sveshnikov (Gazprom-RusVelo), and Ibai Salas (Burgos BH) marked the day’s first breakaway, as the group managed to ride clear early on in today’s stage.

From there, the escapees went on to establish an advantage of more than five minutes over the peloton during the first 30 kilometers.

However, at mid-point in the race, the peloton started escalating its chase efforts under the auspices of the Trek-Segafredo team, wherein the breakaway group’s gap began to dwindle.

The breakaway group’s advantage dropped below a minute for the first time during the last 55 kilometers, with Turek, Van de Sande and Sénéchal separating themselves from their fellow escapees shortly therafter.

However, with the final climb of the Alto de Monachil rapidly approaching, Trek-Segafredo continued to set a fearsome pace, catching the remaining escapees with 36 kilometers to go – six kilometers before the start of the final climb.

The American team continued to set the pace at the start of the ascent, with Jesus Hernandez and Haimar Zubeldia riding hard to shed a number of riders off the back of the peloton.

As the gradient of the climb started to increase, Trek-Segafredo was joined at the front by riders from Movistar and Team Sky, but it was Contador who launched the first attack.

Contador quickly opened up a significant gap, with Alejandro Valverde keen to follow the Spanish rider’s move.

But, it wasn’t long before the two leaders were joined by Wout Poels and Diego Rosa, Ion Izaguirre, and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), as more riders began to bridge their way across as well.

One of those riders was Mikel Landa (Team Sky), who seized the opportunity to go over the top of the group and open up a slight gap during the final two kilometers to the summit.

However, a determined Contador was seen gritting his teeth in an effort to reel in Landa before the top of the climb.

But, moments later, Valverde succeeded in surging clear along the first few kilometers of the challenging descent.

Yet, despite his efforts, the Movistar rider was rejoined by Izaguirre, Contador and Rosa with 10 kilometers to go.

Rosa would later relent, leaving his teammate Poels along with Reichenbach to chase down the leaders during the closing three kilometers.

As the sextet went under the flame rouge, Reichenbach launched a brief but futile attack from the back of the group. But, it was Valverde who proceeded to open up the sprint first.

From there, the Spanish rider’s acceleration proved unassailable for his rivals, as he breezed across the finish to claim today’s opening stage honors.

Ruta del Sol 2017 – Stage One

1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, in 4-02-28
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
3. Sebastien Reichenbach (Sui) FDJ)
4. Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
5. Ion Izaguirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida
6. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 5 secs
8. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, all at same time

General classification After Stage One

1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
3. Sebastien Reichenbach (Sui) FDJ)
4. Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
5. Ion Izaguirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida
6. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
8. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb

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