fi’zi:k’s Valverde wins Liège for fourth time

Alejandro Valverde, aboard his fi’zi:k Arione VSX saddle and competing for Movistar, won Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday for the fourth time in his career, beating Dan Martin into second and Michal Kwiatkowski (fi’zi:k Antares and Team Sky) into third with a typically audacious late attack. The victory was shrouded in sadness, however, after Italian Michele Scarponi was killed while training on Saturday.

‘This win is for Michele Scarponi. He was a good friend of mine,’ said a clearly upset Valverde after the race. ‘It hurts to think he’s gone, I’ll miss him. I’ll give all my prize money from this victory to his family. This win is dedicated to him.’

Valverde’s victory followed Wednesday’s triumph at Fleche Wallonne for the fifth time in his career. But chapeau to fi’zi:k-using Cannondale-Drapac, too, who lit up the race with a series of late attacks. With few teams able to break free of the peloton during the majority of the 258km Classic, first Davide Villella (fi’zi:k Arione R1) laid down the gauntlet on the Cote de Saint Nicolas before young sensation Davide Formolo (fi’zi:k Arione R3) unleashed a memorable move through Liege’s ‘little Italy’ corner that left him clear on the final ascent of Ans.

Formolo was eventually caught by Martin before Valverde latched onto Martin’s rear wheel at the final turn and sprinted to victory.

‘The team were fantastic today,’ Valverde commented after the race, alluding to the good work by Movistar riders including Daniel Moreno (fi’zi:k Arione) and Jose Rojas (fi’zi:k Antares 00). ‘We controlled the dangerous break and then I reached [Dan] Martin at the right moment before sprinting to the line.’

Many of the world’s best, including Chris Froome (fi’zi:k Antares and Team Sky) and Richie Porte (fi’zi:k Arione and BMC Racing Team), now head to Switzerland for the Tour of Romandie which starts on Tuesday.