As organisers laid on a helicopter to transfer the top 10 riders in the Vuelta a España to the rest day location, Alejandro Valverde declined the offer

Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde reportedly turned down the chance to travel by helicopter from the end of stage 16 at Ermita de Alba to the rest day town of Burgos – preferring instead to travel with his team by bus.

Organisers laid on a chopper to transport the riders in the top 10 of the general classification, saving them an extra three hours on the road in the team bus. Valverde was apparently the only one to turn down the air transfer, arriving at this team hotel at around 11.30pm rather than the 8.30pm arrival of the other nine.

Joaquim Rodriguez, Fabio Aru, Rafal Majka, Tom Dumoulin, Mikel Nieve, Esteban Chaves, Dani Moreno, Nairo Quintana and Louis Meintjes all graciously accepted the helicopter ride to Burgos, where the vital 39km time trial will start on Wednesday, according to Biciciclismo.

Helicopter007p

All aboard (Sunada)

Valverde’s teammate Giovanni Visconti hailed his humility, tweeting: “It was possible [for him] to travel by helicopter after today’s stage and instead choose to be with us.”

Valverde actually had a pretty poor day compared to his rivals on Monday’s stage 16, finishing 23rd and now finds himself nearly four minutes off the pace going into the time trial – not his strongest suit.

Rodriguez took the red leader’s jersey from Aru on the final climb, leading by a single second, but time trial specialist Tom Dumoulin could take the lead after Wednesday’s race against the clock.

  • Richard Hamerton-Stove

    He’s a wheel sucker so probably felt better sitting in line with the other teams.

  • Simon Patchett

    Probably scared of helicopters 😉