Spain's Alejandro Valverde has grabbed its first major cycling competition title by winning the Tour of Spain. Valverde was denied the right to compete at the latest Tour de France because of his supposed involvement in a doping scandal.
AFP - Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde won the Tour of Spain on Sunday, capturing one of cycling's three major tours for the first time just months after being embroiled in a doping scandal.
Germany's Andre Greipel won the 21st and final stage in a sprint finish in Madrid ahead of Italy's Daniele Bennati at the end of the 110-kilometre course from Rivas Vaciamadrid to the Spanish capital.
Valverde, who won the Tour of Catalonia in May, virtually just had to stay in his saddle on Sunday to win the event after starting the day with a lead of 55 seconds over his countryman Samuel Sanchez. Third overall was Australia's Cadel Evans.
The trophy will be some consolation this year for the 29-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider, who is still serving a two-year ban for doping in Italy which prevented him from taking part in the Tour de France this year as it briefly passed through the country.
He has contested the allegations.
Valverde, who finished second in 2008, did not win a single stage this year. But he remained strong throughout, helped by his team, and was able to respond to attacks by his rivals when needed, especially in the 14th and 19th stages.
Date created : 2009-09-20