Valverde and Roglič win Route d'Occitanie and Tour of Slovenia
Away from the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) took victories in two of the smaller Tour de France warm-up races, winning the Route d’Occitanie and Tour of Slovenia respectively.
Having decided against starting the Tour de Suisse after illness hampered his preparation, Valverde headed to south-west France for the Route d’Occitanie – previously called the Route du Sud – where he won the race’s only summit finish to propel him to overall victory.
Nacer Bouhanni won the opening stage as he out-sprinted Cofidis team-mate Christophe Laporte (with the two then having a heated discussion after the finishing line), before he was beaten by Clément Venturini (Ag2r La Mondiale) on stage two.
The race was decided on stage three, when Valverde beat Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) and Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky) in dense fog on the summit finish to Les Monts d’Olmes. Valverde then finished second behind Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) on the final stage to Cazouls-lès-Béziers to wrap up the overall win.
At the Tour of Slovenia, victory went to Primož Roglič won the final two stages to win by a handsome margin over Rigobert Uran (EF Education First-Drapac).
Earlier in the race the first two stages were decided by bunch sprints with Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) and Dylan Groenewegen taking the wins, before Uran got the better of Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and Roglič on a punchy uphill finish.
However Roglič stamped his authority on the race on stage four, when he attacked on the final climb with more than 20km remaining, and then soloed away to finish with a gap of 33 seconds over a chasing group.
The Slovenian then dominated the final 21.5km time trial, winning by 27 seconds ahead of Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) to take overall victory by 1-50 ahead of Uran and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida).