Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took victory in the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol, winning the sprint ahead of an elite group of climbers that went clear over the final ascent of the day.

Valverde did everything that could be done to chase the victory and make the fans happy. Going on the attack in both the ascent and the downhill of the Cat-1 Alto de Monachil, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) completed a superb day of racing on stage one of the 63rd Vuelta Ciclista a Andalucía with an astonishing sprint that puts him back into the leader's jersey he climed atop Peñas Blancas, following the final day of the 2016 race. 'Bala', now just one win short of 100 as a professional cyclist, improves an already impressive record to his 2017 early season, following his win just four days ago at the Vuelta a Murcia with a 70km solo action.

After good Movistar Team work to cover its leader all over the stage and fine pacing from Víctor De la Parte and Soler in the beginning of the climb, an attack by Alberto Contador (TFS) halfway through the ascent allowed Alejandro showing his good legs and gaining confidence to go on the attack into the last kilometer of Monachil. The Spaniard continued his move through the early part of the downhill, more twisty than the two-way road later on, where he was reached down by Ion Izagirre (TBM), Diego Rosa (SKY) and Contador, joined by Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ) and Wout Poels (SKY) as they entered Granada. The telephone squad's leader did not leave any margin to surprise and claimed his 8th stage win in the Ruta del Sol.

Valverde and his team-mates -the Blues have already claimed four wins so far in 2017, with Nairo Quintana and the Spaniard notching up two each- will defend their coveted position on Thursday at the Queen stage of the event: a 179km journey from Torredonjimeno to the Cat-1 Peña del Águila ascent, which also includes three other classified ascents and plenty of lumpy terrain that will offer no respite whatsoever.