Alejandro Valverde could not have been more delighted with his opening stage win victory in the Tour de France – his first since 2005.
?It was an uphill finish which suited me well.? Valverde told reporters. ?I wanted a stage win and the overall lead, and today I got both.?
?I didn?t know the climb, but I did know it was my kind of finale. I was very lucky, I got taken up through the peloton by [Caisse D?Epargne team-mate] Jose Ivan Gutierrez and then I could attack at just the right moment.?
Valverde?s move was reminiscent of his stage win in Privas in the Dauphine this June, which was came after a long, steady uphill final section. Privas was 14 kilometres long, and the Cote de Cadoudal 1.7, but the gradient was very similar and Valverde?s late burst – and victory salute in a race he finally won – ominously identical for his rivals.
?I don?t know how long I?ll keep the yellow, that?s not the most important thing.? Valverde argued. ?It?s in Paris where it really matters. For now, I?m going to be taking things as calmly as I can.?
Valverde refused to comment at a question about the anti-doping investigation Operacion Puerto. He had alleged but never proven connections to Puerto in the past. He also expressed regrets that 2007 winner Alberto Contador was not in the Tour, ?but at least another Spaniard has the yellow jersey.?
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