Spain’s Alejandro Valverde clinched his third title at the Tour of Catalonia on Sunday despite Britain’s Simon Yates winning the seventh and final stage after a late breakaway. 

Movistar’s Valverde posted a total time of 28 hours, 25 minutes and 7 seconds in Barcelona to add to his 2009 and 2017 successes in the event at age 37. 

“I did not even expect to feel this good,” Valverde said. “I think I can say I’m in better shape than last year.” 

Valverde’s Movistar team-mate Colombian Nairo Quintana finished 29 seconds behind in the overall standings and Frenchman Pierre Latour of AG2R ended 47 seconds back in third. 

Latour snuck in after Egan Bernal of Team Sky, who had started the final day in second, was denied a place on the podium by a dramatic late fall. 

Bernal crashed heavily with only six kilometres left as Yates of Mitchelton-Scott finished first on the day, ahead of Spaniard Marc Soler and Latour. 

On Bernal’s fall, Valverde said: “In the end it is a real shame because the lad was doing well.”

Yates, whose victory earned him fourth place overall, said: “It was very difficult and very fast at the beginning. I wasn’t sure if I could match the really fast guys here so I decided to go early and it paid off. 

“I came here with big ambitions. I wanted to finish on the podium but I fell just a little bit short.” – Agence France-Presse

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