The Spanish team kept the pressure on, despite attacks off the front including Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep) earning a small gap.
Georg Priedler (Giant-Alpecin) followed the move, and Ion Izaguirre (Movistar) joined the back as a passenger, while a strong group of contenders also followed in close pursuit.
Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) were both present, while Katusha – with two riders in the move – set the pace, and Movistar planted another passenger in Giovanni Visconti.
Tinkoff were not represented in either move though, and closed the gap – first catching the chasers, before closing in on Jungels and Izaguirre on the lower slopes of the Cote de Cherave, Priedler having gone back to the bunch.
Izaguirre was given the nod to attack, however, and re-opened his and Jungels’ lead, while Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) put a typically big dig in off the front of the peloton to bridge across.
Etixx-QuickStep hit the front of the peloton despite their team-mate’s presence up the road, however, and switched their focus to Dan Martin and Julian Alaphilippe as the break was caught.
It meant a bunch charge up the Mur de Huy, and Valverde was in pole position as the climbing started, with Albasini for company.
Joaquim Rodriguez lit it up, but could not escape the attentions of Valverde and Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep).
Martin kicked next, with Valverde on his wheel and team-mate Julian Alaphilippe also in tow but the Movistar man foiled the Etixx duo to claim his third consecutive win.