vosadrian wrote: It was impressive to see him control that finish from the front.
Leading out is almost always the best position. You can control the speed of the group, slow or fast depending on your prefered start speed, control when the sprint starts as most people will just wait until you do something, and you have the advantage of a couple of bikelengths headstart on the others.
The drafting advantage is negated in small groups and situations such as Valverde was in, as he just rode easy tempo and started the sprint where he wanted. If you start the sprint very late there is no draft at all as the riders behind have to step out and go at the same time that you do.
I always laugh when I see riders queuing up on the wheel of the best sprinter in the race. You have to go faster than him to go past, how will that happen? The only way to beat someone faster than you is to get the jump on them and get a headstart and hope the finish comes up before they come back at you.