2018 Route d'Occitanie (2.1), June 14-17

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Went as expected, Valverde won, but obviously isn't at 100% atm. Probably not that close to 100% to be honest after the bit of sickness and first race since Liege as always, he has plenty of time to get ready.
 
Surprise, Valverde won. He has only not won two week long stage races he started in the last three years, one of them was that Tirreno-Adriatico with the cancelled mountain stage. This year he's won every stage race he started. I wouldn't even have been surprised had he attacked at the bottom and won solo by over a minute.
 
I highly doubt Valverde is very close to a peak. Remember the Tour is not actually one of his goals and he's trying to not peak for it and save that 2nd peak for the end of the year Vuelta/Worlds/Lombardia run. Truthfully I'm not entirely sure he had any intention on actually trying to drop Navarro or the Sky Dom who was there. This looked like one of those "I'm perfectly happy to go to the line and sprint for the win. They can't outsprint me, why waste any unnecessary energy to win this one."
Granted even his team has made a comment somewhere along the line that they really can't tell a difference in Valverde at 75% of peak and Valverde at peak because his level is close unlike most other riders. They also explained that's why he's so consistent. Another thing to remember, he's the one big GC rider that is always very happy to rely on his sprint to win and not worry about time gaps unless he has to.
 
Apr 18, 2017
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I watched last 5 kilometres and i must say, Valverde was barely breathing. Really impressive ride, he wasn´t even close to his limit, it was like a training ride for him.
 

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