Astana’s Luis León Sanchez has just received the overall victory of the one-day, 209-km Vuelta a Murcia race after beating Valverde who decided to attack Sanchez in the last two kilometers before the finish line.
Valverde ended up taking second place after a fully-deserved solo victory of Sanchez on Saturday while Quick-Step Floors Philippe Gilbert made it to the podium by taking third.
El podio de la #VueltaCiclistaMurcia2018, con @alejanvalverde (2º), Luis León Sánchez (AST, 1º) y Philippe Gilbert (QST, 3º). En los grupos perseguidores, @jjrojillas ha finalizado 9º y @Andrey_Amador, 11º (por conf.) pic.twitter.com/CWxBVaeXga
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) February 10, 2018
Sanchez admitted to feeling very thankful for the huge help he received from his teammates through the race.
“The guys were super today and I have to thank all of them for the huge help,” said Sanchez. “In the beginning a big group went away and we had to work the whole day. It was not easy to control this race, but the team did it. In the final I went away together with Valverde. I knew, if we come for a sprint it would be the same situation as it was at Valenciana. So, I knew I have to do something and I saw my chance with 2km to go.”
“Anyway, I think this is a team success, not only mine. The team is great these days. At the Volta Valenciana we did a strong race and took two podium places. Now, in Dubai, Magnus was close to the victory too. That’s great!”
Valverde also admitted to have seen Sanchez start a really great season. “Even though I myself tried to leave him behind in the finale, he took a strong turn with 2km to go and it caught me out of strength. I’m still happy, though, because my legs continue to feel really well after my injury,” Valverde said.
Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team – 5:06:35
Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team – 0:00:15
Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors – 0:02:15
Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott – 0:03:54
Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
Willie Smit (RSA) Katusha-Alpecin
José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott
Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott
Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
Etienne van Empel (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
Tough race to start the season! The legs were good, so I decided to give it a go in the breakaway. On the last climb I came just too short to follow Valverde and Sanchez, but the overall feeling is positive. Happy with my 3rd spot and the Cima Marco Pantani trophy #StriveForFive pic.twitter.com/BseqvQYbfH
— PHILIPPE GILBERT (@PhilippeGilbert) February 10, 2018