The third Mallorca Challenge race was one for the climbers as the route included no less than 7 categorised climbs. After coming 2nd behind our Steve Cummings during yesterday’s race, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) managed to go one better to claim the victory today. He crossed the line solo with Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) coming 2nd and Leopold Konig (Team Sky) in 3rd place.
A fast start saw a number of attacks and counter attacks before a large group of 28 riders went clear. In that initial lead group, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had both Merhawi Kudus and Johann van Zyl present. Alejandro Valverde was also in the move and so the threat he posed led Team Sky to reel the group back in around the 80km mark.
By the time this general regrouping took place, a number of riders had already been dropped from the peloton. A flurry of attacks then ensued with Merhawi and Valverde eventually going clear once again. The duo built up a lead of 2 mins over the peloton before Valverde attacked in a descent with just 30km to go. After a brave and courageous fight, Merhawi would be caught by the chase group with 18km left to race.
Valverde pushed on solo to eventually take the win as the select group of chasers battled it out for the minor places. Merhawi would cross the line in 10th place and also won the most combative rider prize of the day, this after Johann won the most aggressive prize yesterday, making it another good day out for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung.
Merhawi Kudus – Rider
“I felt really good today. On the climbs I was also very comfortable and relaxed the whole day. It’s unfortunate because I just couldn’t follow Valverde on the descent. In the end I had to settle for 10th but I am happy with today’s performance and also to with the most combative prize as well.”