CYCLING: Valverde confirms he’s a contender in Vuelta a Espana

The first weekend of the 73rd edition of La Vuelta a Espana has been completed, with an impressive win by 38-year-old Alejandro Valverde of Spain, declaring himself once again a factor in a Grand Tour.

After all, he won this race in 2009, was second in 2006 and 2012 and third in 2013-2014 … and won his 10th career stage at La Vuelta on Sunday.

After the first two stages, Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski has the overall lead by 14 seconds over Valverde and 25 seconds ahead of Wilco Kelderman (NED).

The 21 stages include two time trials, five mountain stages, six hilly stages and six which are fairly flat. Summaries and stage notes:

UCI World Tour/La Vuelta a Espana
Spain ~ 25 August-16 September 2018
(Full results here)

Stage 1 (8.0 km Indiv. Time Trial): 1. Rohan Dennis (AUS), 9:39; 2. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), 9:45; 3. Victor Campanaerts (BEL), 9:46; 4. Nelson Oliveira (POR), 9:56; 5. Dylan van Baarle (NED), 9:59. Also in the top 50: 15. Brent Bookwalter (USA), 10:02; … 21. Joey Rosskopf (USA), 10:07; … 24. Ben King (USA), 10:08.

Stage 2 (163.5 km): 1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), 4:13:01; 2. Kwiatkowski (POL), 4:13:01; 2. Laurens de Plus (BEL), 4:13:04; 4. Wilco Kelderman (NED), 4:13:04; 5. George Bennett (NZL), 4:13:04. Also in the top 50: 48. Ian Boswell (USA), 4:14:06.

Stage 3: 27 August Mijas to Alhaurín de la Torre (178.2 km; medium mountains)
Stage 4: 28 August Velez-Malaga to Alfacar (161.4 km; medium mountains)
Stage 5: 29 August Granada to Roquetas de Mar (188.7 km; medium mountains)
Stage 6: 30 August Huercal-Overa to San Javier (155.7 km); flat
Stage 7: 31 August Puerto Lumbreras to Pozo Alcon (185.7 km’ flat)
Stage 8: 01 September Linares to Almadén (195.1 km; flat)
Stage 9: 02 September Talavera de la Reina to La Covatilla (200.8 km; mountains)

03 September Rest day

Stage 10: 04 September Universidad de Salamanca to Fermoselle (177.0 km; flat)
Stage 11: 05 September Mombuey to Ribeira Sacra (207.8 km; hilly)
Stage 12: 06 September Mondoñedo to Faro de Estaca de Bares (181.1 km; hilly)
Stage 13: 07 September Candas. Carreño to Valle de Sabero (174.8 km; mountains)
Stage 14: 08 September Cistierna to Les Praeres (171.0 km); mountains
Stage 15: 09 September Ribera de Arriba to Lagos de Covadonga (178.2 km; mountains)

10 September Rest day

Stage 16: 11 September Santillana del Mar to Torrelavega (Indiv. Time Trial: 32.0 km)
Stage 17: 12 September Getxo to Balcon de Bizkaia (157.0 km; hilly)
Stage 18: 13 September Ejea de los Caballeros to Lleida (186.1 km; flat)
Stage 19: 14 September Lleida to Andorra. Naturlandia (154.4 km; flat)
Stage 20: 15 September Escaldes-Engordany to Coll de la Gallina (97.3 km; mountains)
Stage 21: 16 September Alcorcon to Madrid (112.3 km; flat)

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