Alejandro Valverde: "My legs felt fantastic today, just like all over the season so far"

After Annemiek van Vleuten finished second earlier on, Alejandro Valverde doubled down on Movistar Team's strong performances today at Strade Bianche as the veteran flew to a strong race, only beaten by an untouchable Tadej Pogacar.

“Super happy with this! This podium tastes so well, in a race which has been so kind and beautiful to me, gave me three podiums – the most special being today’s, no doubt. It’s been such a difficult day. I crashed at the very same incident where Pogacar and others went down – it took so long for me to get back on the bike and it was hard to turn things around with my body. The team’s efforts, though, were phenomenal to bring me back into contention, and my legs in the end – I couldn’t expect to do so well," Valverde said after the race.

No-one had a response when Pogacar attacked at Monte Sante Marie, however later on when the decisive moves for the podium were made in the final 25 kilometers Valverde was quick to react. At the final sector he attacked his group companions and joined Kasper Asgreen in a chase for first place, but more so to secure a place in the podium, which both eventually did.

“When Pogacar attacked, I was around 10th place in the group, and it was impossible for me to follow, he was just so strong. Once he was alone in the lead, we knew it was going to be so difficult. It was that kind of terrain to measure your efforts well, with no flat at all, and in that scenario, he proved to be the strongest. It’s been a brilliant start to the year, such a special one, with everything going so well. My legs felt fantastic today, just like all over the season so far, and thanks to the team, who worked magnificently well, I was able to get back on course, join that final move and take that second place," he concluded.

Unlike many of the world's top riders this coming week, Valverde will not be racing. Instead he now focuses on what's left of the spring, returning to competition at the Volta a Catalunya before tackling the Ardennes classics and the Giro d'Italia where he is certain to keep putting on a show as he has today.

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