Tour de France

Valverde climbs to stage win

2012-07-19 17:38
Alejandro Valverde (AFP)

Peyragudes - Spain's Alejandro Valverde claimed a stylish solo victory in the 17th stage of the Tour de France as Bradley Wiggins reinforced his grip on the race leader's yellow jersey.

Wiggins, of team Sky, came over the finish line of the 143.5km stage between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Peyragudes on the wheel of Sky team-mate Chris Froome 18secs behind the Spaniard.

The pair had led a frantic chase of Valverde on the day's fifth and last climb but Valverde, who had broken away from an early escape group on the Col de Peyresourde, dug deep to hold off the British pair.

Valverde, who only returned to racing in January after serving a two-year doping ban, had started the race with high hopes of aiming for a top three finish in the race.

But after hitting the tarmac several times early in the race, and seeing his team decimated by other crashes, the Spaniard's objective became a stage win.

Having held a lead of 2:35 on the yellow jersey's group with the final 15 km climb to negotiate, his relief was all the more pronounced at the finish where he knew he was under threat by Froome and Wiggins.

"I knew they were behind me, I tried to go faster and so when I saw there was only 1 km to go I was very happy," said Valverde after what was his fourth Tour stage win but first since 2008.

"It's a big victory for me and my team. It's been a very difficult Tour for me, with all the crashes and drama we've been through."

Although they failed to reel Valverde in, Froome's pace, however, did some more damage to Sky's yellow jersey rivals with Italian Vincenzo Nibali trailing home around 18secs further adrift.

Defending champion Cadel Evans, who lost nearly five minutes to Wiggins on Wednesday's 16th stage to drop to seventh overall, lost more time after struggling to hold the pace inside the final few kilometres.

It means Wiggins will go into Friday's 18th stage from Blagnac to Brive-La-Gaillarde, a sprinter-friendly stage which is unlikely to host a yellow jersey battle, with his 2:05 lead on Froome intact.

Liquigas rider Nibali lost 10 seconds to Jurgen Van den Broeck of Lotto, however the Italian remains third overall with a three-minute cushion on the Belgian, who is fourth.

Wiggins says he felt for the first time that overall victory is his.

"It's the first time I've felt maybe I've won the Tour today. That was an incredible feeling, to go over the last summit.

"All the way up the last climb it was like, tears in my eyes."

The 19th and penultimate stage Saturday is a 53.5km time trial in which Wiggins and Froome, who were first and second on the stage nine time trial, are expected to excel.

The race finishes in Paris on Sunday.

Results of the Tour de France 17th stage, a 143.5km ride from Bagnres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes on Thursday:

1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 4h12min 11sec
2. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) at 0:19.
3. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) 0:19.
4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 0:22.
5. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 0:26.
6. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 0:26.
7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) 0:37.
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:54.
9. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) 1:02.
10. Daniel Martin (IRL/GRM) 1:11.
11. Andreas Kloden (GER/RSH) 1:14.
12. Nicolas Roche (IRL/ALM) 1:30.
13. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LTB) 1:39.
14. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY) 1:46.
15. Denis Menchov (RUS/KAT) 1:55.
16. Christophe Kern (FRA/EUC) 2:10.
17. Janez Brajkovic (SLO/AST) 2:10.
18. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 2:10.
19. Michael Rogers (AUS/SKY) 2:10.
20. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 2:37.
21. Maxime Monfort (BEL/RSH) 3:17.
22. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/RSH) 3:17.
23. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) 3:17.
24. Chris Anker Sorensen (DEN/SAX) 4:10.
25. Egoi Martinez (ESP/EUS) 4:10.
26. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 6:28.
27. Christophe Riblon (FRA/ALM) 6:46.
28. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (ESP/MOV) 6:46.
29. Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ/AST) 6:55.
30. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE/AST) 6:55.
31. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) 6:55.
32. Rui Costa (POR/MOV) 6:55.
33. Blel Kadri (FRA/ALM) 7:33.
34. Levi Leipheimer (USA/OPQ) 8:19.
35. Eduard Vorganov (RUS/KAT) 9:06.
36. Michael Schr (SUI/BMC) 9:37.
37. Pieter Weening (NED/GEC) 10:02.
38. Laurens ten Dam (NED/RAB) 10:42.
39. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/EUS) 10:42.
40. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/SKY) 11:12.
41. Dominik Nerz (GER/LIQ) 11:12.
42. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 11:21.
43. Jean Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) 13:59.
44. Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ/AST) 15:02.
45. Andriy Grivko (UKR/AST) 15:02.
46. Simone Stortoni (ITA/LAM) 15:02.
47. Sergio Paulinho (POR/SAX) 15:02.
48. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 16:01.
49. Francis de Greef (BEL/LTB) 16:06.
50. Marcus Burghardt (GER/BMC) 16:06.
51. Jorge Azanza (ESP/EUS) 16:06.
52. Ruben Perez Moreno (ESP/EUS) 16:06.
53. Johnny Hoogerland (NED/VAC) 16:06.
54. Maxime Bouet (FRA/ALM) 16:06.
55. George Hincapie (USA/BMC) 16:06.
56. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/BMC) 16:06.
57. Adam Hansen (AUS/LTB) 16:06.
58. Sbastien Minard (FRA/ALM) 16:06.
59. Jeremy Roy (FRA/FDJ) 16:06.
60. Matthieu Ladagnous (FRA/FDJ) 16:06.
61. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/RAB) 16:06.
62. Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ/AST) 16:06.
63. Guillaume Levarlet (FRA/SAU) 16:06.
64. Peter Velits (SVK/OPQ) 16:06.
65. Fabrice Jeandesboz (FRA/SAU) 16:06.
66. Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA/FDJ) 16:06.
67. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 16:06.
68. Romain Zingle (BEL/COF) 16:06.
69. Julien Simon (FRA/SAU) 16:06.
70. Mickal Cherel (FRA/ALM) 16:06.
71. Jrome Coppel (FRA/SAU) 16:06.
72. Rubn Plaza (ESP/MOV) 16:06.
73. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/MOV) 16:06.
74. Rafael Valls (ESP/VAC) 16:06.
75. Christian Knees (GER/SKY) 16:06.
76. Amal Moinard (FRA/BMC) 16:06.
77. Brice Feillu (FRA/SAU) 16:06.
78. Yukiya Arashiro (JPN/EUC) 16:06.
79. Yaroslav Popovych (UKR/RSH) 22:16.
80. Giampaolo Caruso (ITA/KAT) 22:16.
81. Davide Malacarne (ITA/EUC) 22:16.
82. Kristjan Koren (SLO/LIQ) 22:36.
83. Daniel Oss (ITA/LIQ) 23:20.
84. Joan Horrach (ESP/KAT) 28:16.
85. Luis ngel Mat (ESP/COF) 28:16.
86. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) 28:16.
87. Borut Bozic (SLO/AST) 28:16.
88. Sylvester Szmyd (POL/LIQ) 30:57.
89. Peter Sagan (SVK/LIQ) 30:57.
90. Greg Henderson (NZL/LTB) 30:57.
91. Marcel Sieberg (GER/LTB) 30:57.
92. Aliaksandr Kuschynski (BLR/KAT) 30:57.
93. Sbastien Hinault (FRA/ALM) 30:57.
94. Nick Nuyens (BEL/SAX) 30:57.
95. Jrgen Roelandts (BEL/LTB) 30:57.
96. Roy Curvers (NED/ARG) 30:57.
97. Andr Greipel (GER/LTB) 30:57.
98. Federico Canuti (ITA/LIQ) 30:57.
99. Koen de Kort (NED/ARG) 30:57.
100. Bert Grabsch (GER/OPQ) 30:57.
101. Martin Velits (SVK/OPQ) 30:57.
102. Cedric Pineau (FRA/FDJ) 30:57.
103. Kris Boeckmans (BEL/VAC) 30:57.
104. Juan Jos Haedo (ARG/SAX) 30:57.
105. Danilo Hondo (GER/LAM) 30:57.
106. Yann Huguet (FRA/ARG) 30:57.
107. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 30:57.
108. Simon Gerrans (AUS/GEC) 30:57.
109. Julien Fouchard (FRA/COF) 30:57.
110. Nicki Sorensen (DEN/SAX) 30:57.
111. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/COF) 30:57.
112. Nicolas Edet (FRA/COF) 30:57.
113. Anders Lund (DEN/SAX) 30:57.
114. Albert Timmer (NED/ARG) 30:57.
115. Baden Cooke (AUS/GEC) 30:57.
116. Dries Devenyns (BEL/OPQ) 30:57.
117. Marco Marzano (ITA/LAM) 30:57.
118. Kevin De Weert (BEL/OPQ) 30:57.
119. Christian Vande Velde (USA/GRM) 30:57.
120. Matthew Goss (AUS/GEC) 30:57.
121. Jens Voigt (GER/RSH) 30:57.
122. Patrick Gretsch (GER/ARG) 30:57.
123. Mathieu Sprick (FRA/ARG) 30:57.
124. Jan Ghyselinck (BEL/COF) 30:57.
125. Stuart O'Grady (AUS/GEC) 30:57.
126. Marco Marcato (ITA/VAC) 30:57.
127. David Millar (GBR/GRM) 30:57.
128. Johan Van Summeren (BEL/GRM) 30:57.
129. Jimmy Engoulvent (FRA/SAU) 30:57.
130. Bram Tankink (NED/RAB) 30:57.
131. Daryl Impey (RSA/GEC) 30:57.
132. Michael Albasini (SUI/GEC) 30:57.
133. Lars Ytting Bak (DEN/LTB) 30:57.
134. Pablo Urtasun (ESP/EUS) 30:57.
135. Andre Kashechkin (KAZ/AST) 30:57.
136. Jonathan Cantwell (AUS/SAX) 30:57.
137. Yohann Gene (FRA/EUC) 30:57.
138. David Zabriskie (USA/GRM) 30:57.
139. Manuel Quinziato (ITA/BMC) 30:57.
140. Stephen Cummings (GBR/BMC) 30:57.
141. Michael Morkov (DEN/SAX) 30:57.
142. Anthony Roux (FRA/FDJ) 30:57.
143. Sbastian Langeveld (NED/GEC) 30:57.
144. Tyler Farrar (USA/GRM) 30:57.
145. Karsten Kroon (NED/SAX) 30:57.
146. Jrme Pineau (FRA/OPQ) 30:57.
147. Luca Paolini (ITA/KAT) 30:57.
148. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/MOV) 30:57.
149. Jean-Marc Marino (FRA/SAU) 30:57.
150. Cyril Lemoine (FRA/SAU) 30:57.
151. Bernhard Eisel (AUT/SKY) 31:32.
152. Mark Cavendish (GBR/SKY) 31:32.
153. Alessandro Vanotti (ITA/LIQ) 31:32.

Read more on:    tdf  |  alejandro valverde  |  cycling
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