Valverde to imitate Armstrong?

Although not among the leading favourites for Tour success in July, Alejandro Valverde is hoping tha

Although not among the leading favourites for Tour success in July, Alejandro Valverde is hoping tha

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

With this year's Tour de France looking more open than it has done for years following Lance Armstrong's retirement, as many as a dozen riders are talking themselves up as potential successors to the American. Among them is Illes Balears' team leader Alejandro Valverde, who handed Armstrong one of his rare defeats on a Tour summit last year when he took the Alpine stage to Courchevel.

Valverde's Tour hopes then fell apart when he was seriously afflicted by tendonitis in his right knee, and he was forced out of the race before the Pyrenees. Since then, the Spaniard and his team have devoted considerable time to resolving that knee problem, partly through consultations with Italian biomechanics expert Alessandro Mariano.

This process has included investigation of Valverde's pedalling technique during visits to the Pinarello factory in Italy. Although Mariano kept Valverde's basic position on the bike the same as it had been, he did change the position of his cleats and suggested that the Spaniard imitate Armstrong's high-cadence pedalling style.

"Now I am riding at a different cadence," Valverde told Marca. "Previously I was riding at about 84-85 revs a minute. Now in training I'm doing an average of 90-95 revs. I'm much more agile, feel much better, I'm wasting less energy and muscle recovery is better."

Watch out for further reports on Valverde's progress as he prepares to make his season debut in the Majorca Challenge, which starts on Sunday.

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