Champion Valverde Pulls Out Of Drenched World Road Race

Harrogate, United Kingdom (AFP/APP): Defending world champion Alejandro Valverde cut a sorry figure as he pulled out of the rain-lashed cycling road race world championships on Sunday.

The veteran Spaniard who won an epic race at Innsbruck last season dropped out with 100km to go and was part of a growing army of drenched cyclists throwing in the sponge at Harrogate as the French and Belgian teams set a pace as relentless as the rain.

The conditions were so difficult that even a pair of gritty pre-race favourites Ireland’s Dan Martin and Belgian Philippe Gilbert, world champion in 2012, dropped out.

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