Alejandro Valverde outsprints Peter Sagan to take victory on Stage 8 of Vuelta a Espana

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Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde kept his composure on a tricky finish to claim victory on the eighth stage of the Tour of Spain on Saturday.

Frenchman Rudy Mollard, of the Groupama team, held on to the race leader’s red jersey.

Organisers had added spice to the finale of the 195.5 km race from Linares, the peloton forced to practically turn back on itself after negotiating a roundabout inside the final kilometre.

But the 38-year-old Valderde held his nerve to stay in sprint contention and proved strongest in a tight, uphill finish to pip three-time world champion Peter Sagan to the honours. It was his second stage win of this year’s race.

Sagan, of the Bora team, finished third with Dutchman Danny von Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) in third place.

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Start the cycle season with Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge

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The cycle season is upon us once more and to kick things off is the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge’s first build up ride taking place on Friday, September 7 at Al Qudra Cycle Path.

Registration for the event closes on Wednesday, September 5 and as the first event in the season, the 35km build up ride is the perfect platform for those new to the sport to be part of the cycling trend in Dubai, or for those that have been having a break from cycling during the hot summer to jump back on.

The popular cycle event consists of four build up rides which increase in distance each time to get cyclists prepared for the biggest challenge of the season – the 92km event on Friday, December 14.

Launched nine years ago, the event has continued to grow with over 2,000 cyclists from all over the world entering the 92km event and many cyclists taking part in the UCI Gran Fondo Category to try to qualify for the exciting UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.

The organisers of the event are also excited to announce the return of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Junior Rides; the timed 2.5km, 15km and 30km rides are designed for 6 to 15 year-olds held at the Dubai Autodrome on Thursday, 13 December.

This is a great opportunity for younger ones to be part of the largest amateur cycling challenge and support the legacy of cycling in the UAE.

To register or to find out more information on any of the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge events please visit www.cyclechallenge.ae or www.hopasports.com.

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Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas gears up for home race

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Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas has recovered from an “insane” homecoming and is looking forward to challenging on home turf when the Tour of Britain begins on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Welshman was welcomed back to Cardiff by more than 8,000 fans after winning the race to Paris in July and he will be cheered on once more by local supporters when the Tour of Britain’s first stage begins in Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire this weekend.

Thomas told BBC Radio 5 live: “After the support I had, it’ll be nice to race on home roads. The homecoming was insane, I didn’t know what to expect, I was fearing it just being my wife and the dog.

“But it was just phenomenal – if the support at the Tour of Britain is anything like that, it’s going to be a pretty special eight days of racing.”

Thomas expects to spend much of his time on the road in a support role following a hectic August.

“There has been a lot of travelling and a few nights out as well so my form is certainly not what it was in France but I still should have decent enough legs to be in the race and hopefully at the front doing something,” he said.

Beyond Thomas, Team Sky’s line-up includes six-time Grand Tour winner Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, Hollands’ Wout Poels, Lukasz Wisniowski of Poland and Belarusian rider Vasil Kiryienka.

Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Julian Alaphilippe, Maximilian Schachmann and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) are also taking part and have all won Grand Tour stages this year.

The tour ends in Newport, the site of Wales’ National Velodrome, which is set to be renamed in Thomas’ honour.

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