Despite impressive breakaway efforts from Michal Kwiatkowski and Vasil Kiryienka that illuminated stage four, they were unable to prevent Valverde from extending his lead in the general classification ahead of Sunday’s final stage.
The powerful early attacks led by Kwiatkowski and Kiryienka had forced both Movistar and Astana to lead the chase at the front of the peloton, with Kwiatkowski finally being caught just seven kilometres from the line.
Kiryienka was part of the first group to escape the peloton’s clutches just an hour into racing and was able to stay away for nearly 90km of the stage, finally being joined by Kwiatkowski who bridged the gap to him with 50km remaining.
The pair worked together in a dwindling front group, with Reto Hollenstein (Katusha) and Cristian Rodríguez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) aiding the Team Sky duo before they were all caught as the peloton picked up the pace.
Kwiatkowski tried to counter with Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) but was unable to maintain the pressure needed and a select bunch came back together at the base of the Cocentaina. This climb would prove decisive.