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by Mark Zalewski
February 18, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Campenaerts wins TT, Valverde takes over lead at Ruta del Sol; Castroviejo wins Volta ao Algarve TT, Roglic retains lead; Kristoff wins again at Tour of Oman; Jonathan Tiernan-Locke retires; Swiss CX champion Julien Taramarcaz retires; New Energy Tour unveils route; British Cycling to brief riders on upcoming independent review report; Driver allegedly deliberately clips British domestic team on training ride; Rider to tackle all 21 Giro stages on fat bike for charity; Tour of Oman, stage 3 highlights; Video: Alexis Ryan on the 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour; Team Novo Nordisk: 2017 Season Kickoff.
The race organisers of the Ruta del Sol must be grinning ear to ear. After a cracker queen stage on Thursday, Friday’s time trial was equally as dramatic, as the GC came down to a single second with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) taking back the race lead from Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo). The pair finished seconds apart from each other, just behind race winner and Belgian TT champion Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo).
“For the moment, we’re back in the lead and we’ve reached it with a time trial, which is massive for me,” said Valverde.
“I felt quite comfortable over the course, it suited me well. Already this morning I was feeling well over it, and it proved to be right in the afternoon. I had decided to go full gas into the first half of the race, which was better for my conditions, and I tried to use my energy well over the second part, so I could at least be close to the leader’s jersey.
Thursday’s stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) rode an impressive TT in fourth and is only six seconds off the lead. Team Sky has the next three places on the GC with Wout Poels, Diego Rosa and Mikel Landa, all within striking distance. But the one second difference to Contador is Valverde’s biggest worry.
“One second is nothing. You can’t feel calm, even less so with Alberto Contador behind you. He’s a man of strategy and proved to be really strong today, too. Before we get to the finish on Sunday, the race is not won at all. I’m showing I’m dong well over every course: I won stage one, took 3rd yesterday, came incredibly close to winning today.”