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by Shane Stokes
January 30, 2018
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Following on from a Challenge Mallorca campaign which saw him mix it up with in-form riders and finish third and fourth in races, Alejandro Valverde’s return after a serious crash in last year’s Tour de France continues. The Movistar rider will next head to the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which begins Wednesday and runs until Sunday.
The race begins with a stage for the sprinters, has a mountain stage on Thursday, a team time trial on Friday, a second mountain stage on Saturday and then a concluding flat stage. The two uphill stages should give Valverde ample opportunity to continue chasing the comeback win he desires.
He will be joined in the 2.1-ranked race by Andrey Amador, Jorge Arcas, Nuno Bico, Héctor Carretero, José Joaquín Rojas and Jaime Rosón.
Valverde crashed on the opening stage of the Tour de France, hitting the deck at high speed and sliding into barriers by the side of the road. He suffered fractures to his left kneecap and the talus bone in his ankle. His participation in the Challenge Mallorca races were his first events since that crash, and he was encouraged by how he felt.
“Hats off to Wellens and Moscon, a well-deserved first and second, but for me, taking third is like a victory,” he said after the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana on Friday. “Keeping the pace of those guys uphill after everything that happened is something to be really happy about. I knew I was doing well, but not so much.”