Cycling

Movistar storm Catalonia time trial to stun rivals

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Alejandro Valverde (AFP)
Alejandro Valverde (AFP)

Banyoles - Alejandro Valverde's Movistar stormed to a surprise victory in the team time trial at the Tour of Catalonia on Tuesday, as Team Sky suffered a damaging off day.

Valverde's team-mate Jose Joaquin Rojas leads the overall standings after two stages as he and his seven team-mates gamely sprinted for the win.

The Movistar team, from Spain, had been far from favourites to win the tricky 41.3km race but beat Tejay van Garderen's BMC by a slender two seconds while putting a punishing 46 seconds into Chris Froome's Sky team.

"We worked very hard and had planned it all, checking out the route etc," Valverde said after the race.

"We put some important time into some key rivals," he told Eurosport.

A drawn-looking Froome told Eurosport: "This was not the stage we had been planning."

The three-time Tour de France winner and team-mate Geraint Thomas have a climb stage with three category-one mountain ascents tomorrow in which to grapple back into contention in the seven stage Tour.

Alberto Contador's Trek team were left 1min 13sec adrift and the veteran climber told cameras he was ready to attack with style on Wednesday.

Results and standings after the second stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Tuesday, a 41.3km team time trial around Banyoles:

Stage

1. MOVISTAR (ESP) 41.3km in 48min 55sec, 2. BMC Racing (USA) at 2sec, 3. Sky Team (GBR) at 46sec, 4. Trek-Segafredo (USA) 1min 1sec, 5. Orica-Scott (AUS) 1:24, 6. FDJ (FRA) 1:44, 7. Lotto NL-Jumbo (NED) 1:48, 8. Astana (KAZ) 2:05, 9. Lotto-Soudal (BEL) 2:10, 10. Quick-Steep Floors (BEL) 2:13

Overall standings

1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/Movistar) 5h 17:16., 2. Rubn Fernndez (ESP/Movistar) s.t., 3. Imano Erviti (ESP/Movistar) s.t., 4. Marc Soler (ESP/Movistar) s.t., 5. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/Movistar) s.t., 6. Ben Hermans (BEL/BMC) at 2sec, 7. Brent Bookwalter (USA/BMC) s.t., 8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) s.t., 9. Rohan Denis (AUS/BMC) s.t., 10. Kilian Frankiny (SUI/BMC) s.t.

Selected:

13. Geraint Thomas (GBR/Sky) at 46sec

18. Chris Froome (GBR/Sky) at 46sec

22. Alberto Contador (ESP/Trek) at 1:15.

52. Dan Martin (IRE/Quick Step) at 2:13

70. Romain Bardet (FRA/AG2R) at 2min 15sec

84. Jose Rojas (ESP-Movistar) at 3min

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