He’s not even leading his Movistar team at the Tour de France this year, instead supporting Nairo Quintana, but Alejandro Valverde is still officially the most popular ride at the Tour de France…so far.
How do we know? Well that’s according to the Tour’s official postal service, Docapost who tally up the number of messages sent to each individual rider during the race.
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In fact, the French company have an individual and team classification for those who receive the most mail, with Spanish champion Valverde leading the overall ahead of last year’s champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) after the first week of racing.
Portuguese champion Costa, who won the popularity contest in both 2013 and 2014, has since abandoned the Tour and which will see his chances of catching Valverde evaporate. Which must have been his biggest consideration before he climbed off in the Pyrenees on stage 11.
Valverde is racing away after the first week, with 116 messages ahead of Costa’s 41 and Alberto Contador’s (Tinkoff-Saxo) seven. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) are flying the flag for the French, but at six and five messages respectively, they’re not receiving much back from the home crowd
Will anybody be able to catch Valverde before the race reaches Paris?
Tour de France 2015 post competition, provisional individual classification:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, 116 messages
2. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, 41 messages
3. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, 7 messages
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 6 messages
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, 5 messages
Tour de France 2014 post competition, final individual classification
1. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, 506 messages
2. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura, 112 messages
3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, 82 messages
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, 64 messages
5. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar, 44 messages
You can find out how to send a message to your favourite rider at the Tour by visiting Docapost.
What’s it like to ride the Tour de France?