'I'm not a selfish racer' - Valter revisits Jumbo-Visma's Strade Bianche mistakes

 Attila Valter
Attila Valter

Attila Valter has insisted that there are no hard feelings between him and Tiesj Benoot after they struggled to dovetail their efforts for Jumbo-Visma in the finale of Strade Bianche on Saturday. Benoot placed third in Siena, while Valter had to settle for fifth after they were unable to bring back winner Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), who had escaped with 50km remaining.

The most obvious moment of discord came with 18km to go when Valter bridged up to Benoot after he had attacked from the chasing group on the penultimate gravel climb. When Benoot turned and saw Valter arriving, he gesticulated in exasperation, believing that the Hungarian had inadvertently brought Matej Mohorič and Quinn Simmons with him.

“It's clear that I didn't pull that group back. It would've been an amateur move. I waited until they got tired of the effort on the penultimate gravel sector, and when I saw they are struggling, I jumped to the Benoot group alone. This could clearly be seen on TV too," Valter told Eurosport Hungary.

Read more

Jumbo-Visma disappointed at Strade Bianche as Mohoric blames Valter for losing the race

Primoz Roglic a surprise addition for Jumbo-Visma at Tirreno-Adriatico

Two weeks of lost training leaves Wout van Aert chasing his fitness at Tirreno-Adriatico

"I didn't see Tiesj's hand gesture, but later it became clear that he misunderstood the situation, I didn't even think for one second that he thought I pulled the group back.

“Of course, I make mistakes, but this wouldn't have been a mistake, this would've been selfishness on my part. Naturally, I, too, have individual ambitions, but I'm not a selfish racer, and I was a bit surprised he thought I would do this.”

Valter added that the Jumbo-Visma pair had discussed the finale in detail after the race and had trained together on Sunday in preparation for the opening time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Hungarian champion, who signed for Jumbo-Visma from Groupama-FDJ this winter, acknowledged that he was still learning how to race in the style of his new teammate and his new team.

“I spent 20 days with Tiesj on Teide, but this was our first race together, and we have different racing styles,” Valter said.

"He missed pulls a bit more often than I did, he wanted to attack from behind, and he did this in a very smart way. You could see this work very well in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. My style is a bit different, closer than to what [Valentin] Madouas and [Rui] Costa did. We were thinking about riding a higher tempo on the climbs while Tiesj and Mohorič were trying to make surprise attacks."

Valter made his debut for Jumbo-Visma at O Gran Caminõ, riding in the service of Jonas Vingegaard while helping himself to fourth overall. At Strade Bianche, his first one-day race with the team, he came away wondering whether he ought to have tried to track Pidcock’s winning move from the outset rather than rely on others to lead the initial chase.

“At that point in the race, I thought someone else should go with him, but in this jersey, I need to make braver decisions. This is why our sport is so beautiful: you need to make big decisions while close to maximum physical effort,” Valter said.

“It's a bit weird for me that the public is talking this much about the mistakes that we made instead of being happy with the result we achieved.

"I don't really like this, but it also makes me proud because it means I'm on a level where people expect results from me.”