Alejandro Valverde stole the Vuelta a España points jersey from Joaquim Rodriguez on stage 21 when Purito had a puncture before the sprint

Alejandro Valverde courted a little controversy on stage 21 of the Vuelta a España on Sunday by winning the intermediate sprint to snatch the points jersey while the incumbent, Joaquim Rodriguez, suffered with a puncture.

The pair will line up together for Spain in the UCI World Championships road race in Richmond on September 27 and team manager Javier Minguez insists the incident will not be an issue.

Protocol usually dictates that attacks are not made on the final stage of a Grand Tour, with the ride to the finish line virtually a procession, but Valverde threw caution to the wind by launching his sprint for points victory.

“I’m not worried. When on the circuit they will only think of the race,” Minguez told

Valverde will be joined by three Movistar teammates in the 259.2km race in Virginia, with Ion Izagirre, Imanol Erviti and Juan Jose Lobato making the cut for the squad. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) and Luis Mas (Caja Rural) round out the nine-man team.

Sanchez will first ride the individual time trial along with Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar).

  • David Bassett

    And Valverde didn’t sit up and let Rui Costa take the win for Movistar in 2013 when
    his countryman Rodriguez was flying, even though it was known that Costa was
    leaving Movistar at the end of the season.
    Charly Wegelius (I think) got banned from representing GB when he was involved in controversy in 2005 when he and teammate Tom Southam chose not to ride to protect Roger Hammond, their team leader, in the World Championship road race, and instead looked after the riders in their trade teams.
    That could be the difference between British and Spanish officials.