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Valverde wins Abu Dhabi Tour with final stage victory

Valverde took the overall race from Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) with Lopez rounding out the podium in third.

The race inevitably came down to the final climb with Movistar pushing the pace alongside Astana.

The day’s early break of Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac), Mathias Brandle (TrekSegafredo), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Rudy Barbier (AG2R La Mondiale), Fredrik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Bresciani (Bardiani CSF), Nicolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo), Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Joonas Henttala (Novo Nordisk) initially held a lead of over 10 minutes but on the early slopes of the climb their advantage was clipped to within two minutes.

With eight kilometres to go, Astana lined out the peloton with Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) an early casualty due to an untimely mechanical. Craddock and Greipel mustered a brief counter from the remnants of the break as Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) buckled under Astana’s pressure.

Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) jumped clear of the Dennis group with seven kilometres to go. The Italian’s initial gap sparked Valverde into life, with the Spaniard joining him with an almost effortless attack. The chase from the peloton was too much for Dennis, and with six kilometres remaining the Australian found himself off the back as Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) linked up with Formolo and Valverde and then Lopez. Four became three when Formolo lost contact and Dennis continued to lose time despite being paced by teammate, Damiano Caruso.

Kelderman and Rafal Majka joined the leading contenders but Fabio Aru failed to make a strong impression, with the world time trial champion, Dumoulin, suffering a second mechanical in as many days.

Formolo, Kelderman, Lopez, Valverde, Majka, Alaphilippe, and Niklas Eg joined forces at the front, but with four kilometres to the line, Lopez attacked before Valverde joined him. Despite a series of counter-attacks the two leaders were never seen again, with Valverde taking the stage and the overall.


Brief Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 4:38:47
2 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:15
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
6 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:37
7 Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:47
8 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:55
9 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
10 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
General Classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 16:00:01
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:17
3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:29
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:31
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:45
6 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:13
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:18
8 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:28
9 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:29
10 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:37