Spain and fizik rider Alejandro Valverde won the Men’s Elite Road Race at Sunday’s World Championships finale in superb style. L’Embatido – six times previously on the World Champs podium in 19 attempts, but never before on the top step – was wearing his national colors in a fascinating competition that was wide open and tightly fought throughout. He won the 258km race in 6 hours, 46’ 41”, with an average speed of over 38kph.
After seven circuits of the ‘Olympic Circuit’ at Innsbruck, Austria, the final selection of five world class athletes was made on the feared ‘Hell Climb’ which hit 28% at its steepest. With Gianni Moscon soon dropped, five became four – Valverde, Romain Bardet (France), Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) and Michael Woods (Canada), and when the oldest man of the four was left to lead out the sprint, he never looked like being caught on his way to earning the Rainbow Jersey.
“This is incredible. I’ve fought for many years, and finally I get it. It was a very long sprint… I launched my sprint at 350 metres, which was perfect for me. It’s the win of the national selection, of all the people who like me and support me. I’m speechless because I don’t believe it. I’ve been close many times. I’ve had several medals but I was still missing the gold. I’m caught by a huge emotion.”
Earning the Rainbow stripes caps an eventful 17th season as a pro for the 38-year-old Movistar Team rider wearing Infinito R1 Movistar Team shoes and riding on an his Antares saddle to a highly memorable victory.
Well done, Alejandro!