Valenciana: Izagirre beats Valverde in overall; Groenewegen wins finale

Izagirre wins overall by seven seconds ahead of world champion Valverde. Dutch sprinter Groenewegen takes first victory of 2019.

Photo: Getty Images

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VALENCIA, Spain (AFP) — Spain’s Ion Izagirre claimed victory at the Volta a Comunitat Valenciana on Sunday after Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen won the fifth and final stage.

Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma pipped Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) in the bunch sprint while Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), who won the second stage, took third.

It was the first win of the season for the Dutchman who sprinted to victory twice during the Tour de France last season.

But Astana’s Izagirre triumphed overall on Sunday, coming in seven seconds ahead of his closest rival and fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to secure his first success of the season.

“It’s been a while without winning, without having this feeling and this taste in my mouth,” Izagirre said.

“It’s what I crave and what I wanted most. We have started the season in the best possible way, with a victory for me and for the team.”

A sprint finish was expected at the end of a brisk 88-kilometer stage, with Izagirre and Valverde both avoiding a cluster of riders that crashed with less than a kilometer to go.

“It was a tough final with many corners and the pace was very high,” Groenewegen said. “In the last corner I had to come from too far back, but by jumping from wheel to wheel, I managed to claim the victory.”

Pello Bilbao, also of Astana, completed an all-Spanish podium by coming third overall, 16 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates).

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