Valverde turns it on again in Spain

It was Alejandro Valverde doing his thing in the bunch sprint again at the Tour of the Basque Countr

Cycling: Tour of Mallorca / Stage 3
VALVERDE Alejandro ( Esp ) Celebration Joie Vreugde
Pollenca - Port de Pllenca
Etape Rit
Tour de Majorque / Ronde van Majorca
It was Alejandro Valverde doing his thing in the bunch sprint again at the Tour of the Basque Countr

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Alejandro Valverde confirmed he is the best sprinter in this year’s Tour of the Basque Country with another commanding victory in Thursday’s fourth stage, beating Liquigas-Bianchi’s Danilo Di Luca into second place, with Illes Balears team-mate Aitor Osa finishing in the same group to retain his overall lead. Despite a late charge by T-Mobile’s Alexandre Vinokourov and procycling Fab Four member Thomas Lovkvist (Franaise des Jeux), the two strongmen couldn’t compete with a strong headwind in the run-in to Altsasu, and were swallowed up with just 2km to go. CSC’s Kurt-Asle Arvesen led the bunch into the final straight, riding for himself for once with the team’s main sprinter Giovanni Lombardi – second to Valverde on Wednesday – back in a group more than five minutes down. But it was Valverde who powered clear on the left side of the road, away from where the action was, to record his second win in as many days. Di Luca, winner of the opening stage, and still with designs on taking the overall prize, retained his second place in the overall classification just two seconds down on Osa. On Friday the riders face a tough 93km morning stage between Altsasu and the summit finish at Onati before tackling a 9.3km individual time trial in the afternoon. With time trial world champion Michael Rogers (Quick Step) just 20 seconds off the pace in 16th place overall, and with Valverde and two other useful time triallists in Bradley McGee (Franaise des Jeux) and CSC’s Bobby Julich – winner of this year’s Paris-Nice and Criterium International – also 20 seconds down, it could be anyone’s race. Friday’s morning stage is going to be crucial. Stage four, Gasteiz – Altsasu 1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears 167km in 4.12.04 2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 3 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak 4 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 5 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 6 Bradley McGee (Aus) Francaise des Jeux 7 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Credit Agricole 8 Ricardo Serrano (Spa) Kaiku 9 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 10 Josep Jufre (Spa) Relax General classification after four stages 1 Aitor Osa (Spa) Illes Balears 15.35.01 2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.02 3 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Credit Agricole 4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.05 6 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.07 7 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 8 Michael Boogerd (Hol) Rabobank 0.12 9 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak 0.14 10 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval