Volta a Catalunya: Richie Porte seals victory as Alejandro Valverde wins final stage
Spaniard climbs to second overall thanks to bonus seconds
Last Updated: 21/04/15 4:51pm
Team Sky's Richie Porte continued his outstanding start to the season by completing overall victory of the Volta a Catalunya as Alejandro Valverde won the final stage in Barcelona.
Porte started the day with a five-second cushion over second-placed Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) but it was Valverde (Movistar), 16 seconds down in fourth, who presented the greatest threat to his lead.
The Spaniard claimed two bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint and then launched an attack on the last of eight ascents of the Alt de Montjuic in the city centre.
Porte's Team Sky team-mates chased Valverde down, but he then contested the sprint and held off Bryan Coquard (Europcar) to claim his third stage win of the race and the 10 bonus seconds on offer.
The result lifted Valverde to second overall, four seconds behind Porte, who finished in the main bunch, with Pozzovivo one second further back in third and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) seven seconds adrift in fourth.
Valverde said: "We set everything so I could attack in the hardest point of the circuit, the final slope of the last climb, but when I got into the flat after the steepest one I saw it was almost impossible to reach the finish alone.
"I decided to stop and wait for the sprint. It was a really demanding Volta. Leaving it with three stages and the second place overall - you can't really ask for anything else."
Porte’s victory comes just two weeks after he won Paris-Nice and also follows a second-placed finish at the Santos Tour Down Under and a fourth at the Volta ao Algarve earlier in the year.
It was also a confidence-boosting triumph given that he defeated Contador, who is likely to be his main rival at May's Giro d'Italia.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished 6min 10sec behind Valverde on the day in 89th and ended the race 71st, 45min 35sec down on Porte.
Stage seven result
1 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, 2:47:33
2 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar, same time
3 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha, st
4 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling, st
5 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, st
6 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Esp) Movistar, st
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, st
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
9 Rafael Valls (Esp) Lampre-Merida, st
10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step, st
1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, 30:30:30
2 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +4secs
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +5secs
4 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, +7
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, +18
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +27
7 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing, +33
8 Rafael Valls (Esp) Lampre-Merida, +43
9 Dan Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin, +1:35
10 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling, +2:16