2009 Vuelta Rest Day Interview with Alejandro Valverde
After the first four stages of the 2009 Vuelta a Espana, which took place not in Spain but in the Netherlands and Belgium, we asked Alejandro Valverde to reflect on his performance and observations in the Vuelta so far.
What do you think about the 2009 Vuelta so far?
“It was really beautiful to see so many people coming to see the Tour of Spain. This is something we usually only see in the Tour de France. The atmosphere was incredible everywhere: in the start area, along the course and in the finishing zones. The roads were all painted and there were Spanish flags everywhere. The negative aspect is the fact that the courses were rather dangerous and sometimes really too much. We know that it is difficult there to find an alternative course because there are roundabouts and crossing almost everywhere and at the end the most important point was to come out of all that without big problems.
We saw you were indeed very careful during these first stages?
“I learned a lot from the mistakes I made in the past and I know that to be absent-minded only a few seconds can cost you a lot. In stages like those it was really important to be ahead in order of avoiding traps and crashes. I believe that I did what I had to and I am satisfied because I lost no time compared to my rivals.”
Yesterday you could virtually not avoid crashing in the last kilometers. Explain to RoadCycling.com's readers what happened?
“I was in 30th-35th position, very careful to what was happening ahead of me. I immediately saw that some riders were crashing and I braked just in time to avoid crashing myself. When I believed I was safe a rider arriving from behind and slipping on the ground touch me so that I went to the flour. I received a strong blow on my buttock. It is bothering me a little bit but fortunately it is nothing serious.
In the second stage you gained a few seconds compared to many of your rivals. Is that important and how do you evaluate the performance of your adversaries during the first stages?
“Eighteen seconds can be important but I believe that considering the hard stages which are still to come they will have no weight at the final but anyway you never know and maybe they will play a role. I believe that my main rival will be Ivan Basso. I saw him really slim, very careful and completely concentrated on the race.”
In what state of mind will you approach the next stages?
“I am really motivated and feeling very well. It was important to go through without those first stages out of our country without any problem and now that we are back in Spain, let’s the Vuelta start! The first important stage will the time trial in Valencia but I believe we will have to wait for the next day with the finish at the top of Aitana to see real gaps between the leaders.”