fi’zi:k’s Valverde wins in Spain

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, aboard his fi’zi:k Antares 00 saddle, yesterday won the third and final stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon to secure the overall title. It completed a memorable race for the 36-year-old Spanish rider who also won the second stage.

Teammate Carlos Betancur, also fi’zi:k saddles, had entered the last day as race leader after winning the opening stage but suffered on the final climb of the day, meaning the 26-year-old Colombian slipped to ninth overall on GC. Still, Movistar remained satisfied with the week’s efforts.

‘The race couldn’t have gone better, with stage wins for Betancur and myself, and GC,’ Valverde said after the race. ‘But, above all, this is an excellent way to get me up to race pace and start building toward the Giro [d’Italia]. I want to thank the whole team – they worked their hearts out all weekend long and even more so today.’ To complete a fine race for the Spanish team, 27-year-old Colombian Winner Anacona finished sixth overall.

Elsewhere in Europe, Paris-Nice stage winner Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE and fi’zi:k Antares 00 saddle) finished fifth at Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. Matthews had the previous Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix winner Matthew Hayman (fi’zi:k Arione saddle) working for him and, for the best part of 200km, the Australian team had the race under control. However, everyone was caught out by the winning move from Enrico Gasparotto. The 34-year-old Italian attacked up the Cauberg Hill to claim his second Amstel title.

Still, Orica-GreenEDGE sports director Matt White praised his team’s efforts. ‘The team effort was five star today,’ White said. ‘We worked hard to give our two leaders [Matthews and Simon Gerrans, fi’zi:k Antares 00 saddle) the best possible chance for the finale, but we didn’t quite have the legs to go with that last move on the Cauberg.’