Podium Cafe calls it a coronation or a parade into Madrid. It was just that as Alejandro Valverde, the Spaniard, won his first grand tour on Sunday, claiming the top spot on the podium in the 2009 Vuelta a Espana.
It was the 64th edition of the tour of Spain and it will be quite memorable for the home country as not only did Valverde claim the top spot on the podium, but fellow Spaniard Samuel Sanchez claimed second place and Australian Cadel Evans placed third overall.
Valverde claimed victory despite not ever winning an individual stage.
“I always believed I could win a grand tour and I was close a few times … Now I feel liberated,” Valverde said. “It’s a special flavor to win a grand tour. It feels incredible. It’s strange not to have won a stage, but sometimes you have to leave some things to one side to achieve something else.”
Meanwhile, Andre Greipel of Columbia HTC pulled out his fourth stage win of the Vuelta. He wound up in the green jersey for the most points in the 09 Vuelta. He might’ve run the most impressive race overall despite not finishing in one of the top three spots.
It still remains to be seen what happens with Valverde and whether or not the performance enhancing drug suspension he has in Italy will be extended to other cycling events for 2010. But for now, he can go party in his home country and celebrate a thrilling win.