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by Shane Stokes
February 20, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Wellens takes final stage of Ruta del Sol as Valverde lands 100th career victory; Roglic clocks up overall victory in Volta ao Algarve, Antunes lands final stage; Hermans seals Tour of Oman success as Kristoff nets third stage win; Vichot takes Tour du Haut Var, Simon wins final stage; De Riter claims final stage of the Tour of East Gippsland, Lobigs takes overall; Valverde celebrates career milestone but keeps eyes on next objective; Roglic targeting more stage race wins; Cyclist shot multiple times in chest, head in Everton; Andy Schleck ties the knot; Stream wipes out bunch in Tour of Oman; Emirates Team New Zealand mixing sailing and cycling
Clocking up a centenary of career victories, Alejandro Valverde sealed his overall win in the Ruta del Sol on Sunday, finishing in the main bunch one minute 45 seconds behind the stage victor. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was best out of six breakaway riders who sprinted to the line, pipping Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) and others.
Valverde had taken the race lead from Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) in Friday’s time trial and finished in the same time as his compatriot in Saturday’s bunch finish into Sevilla. French sprinter Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) edged out Daniel Hoelgaard (FDJ) plus the rest of the field in the gallop to the line.
Valverde was just one second ahead of Contador and while the profile of Sunday’s concluding stage wasn’t deemed difficult, bad weather ensured that Valverde was cautious. Eight riders got clear early on and these managed to stay ahead until the end, with Wellens too quick for Clarke, Victor Campenaerts (Team LottoNl-Jumbo) and three others.
Valverde rolled in 15th to net that 100th career victory. Contador stayed a second behind while Thursday’s stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was third, six seconds down.
“In the break we were all scared of each other,” said Wellens, describing the finale. “Everyone was looking at the others and no one could get away. I started sprinting at two hundred metres from the finish. Beforehand, I wasn’t certain at all that I would win the sprint, but it was actually pretty convincing. I like it more to win this way than to finish solo. If I can choose it can be exciting.”