Quintana Wins Tour of Valencia
Nairo Quintana has won Tour of Valencia 2017
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2017 concluded today with Nairo Quintana winning the general classification for Team Movistar and Frenchman Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) winning the final, but shortened, stage 5.
Because of heavy winds dominating the designated start location of today's final stage, race organizers decided to shorten the stage, thus reducing the race to a 79 kilometer battle in the streets of Valencia in Spain.
The brief and shortened route of today's stage had an inspiring and motivating effect on the still tired riders. Despite strong winds blowing, within fifteen seconds of the start gun sounding, two riders took off in a joint effort to leave the peloton behind. QuickStep Floors Pro Cycling Team's Iljo Keisse and Sep Vanmarcke of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team formed the duo.
Keisse later went solo as Vanmarcke fell back to the main peloton. Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski later joined Keisse, but the new duo of breakaway hopefuls was eventually reeled in by the main peloton, when various teams set up their sprint aces for the final sprint in the streets of Valencia.
24-year-old Coquard won the stage in 01:01:23, finishing ahead of fellow countryman Nacer Bouhanni and Dutchman Coen Vermeltfoort.
Quintana won the general classification after showing strong and breathtaking dominance on the Mas de Costa climb yesterday, thereby sending a warning message to the fellow general classification favorites he will battle against in the Grand Tours of the 2017 season. The BMC Racing Team delivered an impressive team effort with Ben Hermans finishing in second place (13 seconds behind Quintana) and Manuel Senni completing the podium 32 seconds behind Quintana.
Team Sky's defending champion Wout Poels took fourth place in the overall rankings. Dan Martin finished 5th for Team QuickStep Floors and Jakob Fuglsang finished sixth.
"I'm very happy with this victory. We knew it would not be easy to defend the general classification lead today, and indeed it turned out to be a very nervous race due to the strong winds we had to face," race winner Quintana told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium.
"Fortunately both my teammates and I kept our focus at all times, so in the end defending the leader jersey was not a problem," Quintana added.
"My next races are the Abu Dhabi Tour and the Tirreno-Adriatico. My big goals of the 2017 season are the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France and finding the correct approach is key to our future success."
Roadcycling.com compliments the race organizers, led by race director Angel Casero, on designing a remarkably difficult and challenging route for this year's edition of the race.
Offering spectators along the route and a growing international audience of television viewers the opportunity to witness leading professional cyclists engage in strenuous and exhausting battles worthy of grand Tours such as the Vuelta a Espana or the Tour de France, in a race taking place in early February, is an important feat and a decision the organizers should be complimented for.
Despite receiving mixed criticism from cycling commentators and the riders taking on the challenge, Roadcycling.com welcomes the long team time trial and the Mas de Costa climb to the February racing menu.
The first months of the new European cycling year are no longer dominated by boring unanimated races used by pros to build form and with finish line sprints being the only peaks. Casero has shaken up the typical and traditional structure of the professional road cycling season and brought along with it long team time trials, epic mountain battles, beautiful scenery and excitement. It’s February and professional road cycling is in full swing.
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