Alejandro Valverde will focus on the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege ahead of the Giro d'Italia, withdrawing from the Tour of Flanders

Alejandro Valverde‘s jam-packed schedule just got a bit lighter as he scratched several races off his list in order to focus on the Giro d’Italia in May.

The Movistar rider had planned to tackle the Tour of Flanders on April 3 but instead will only race two of the Ardennes Classics and the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon before the Giro.

Going into the Ardennes campaign as the reigning champion of two races, he will skip the Amstel Gold Race – where he finished second last year – and only start the Flèche Wallonne and Liége-Bastogne-Liege.

Valverde finished 15th at Milan-San Remo on Saturday and his team feel this preparation, along with the Tirreno-Adriatico, means Valverde can sacrifice the cobbled races.

“Tirreno-Adriatico and the pace [Milan-San Remo] has given to Alejandro have made him look towards the Giro even more excited than he already was – and we all are as eager as him to do well there,” said Movistar general manager Eusebio Unzué.

“That’s why we both agreed it was better to change his race program, so he tackles the first Grand Tour of the year with focus and calmness, with the best physical condition possible, yet not avoiding two races – Flèche and LBL – where we both have got great results during the last decade.”

Valverde will ride his first ever Giro d’Italia this year, before going on to support Nairo Quintana at the Tour de France to gain form and momentum for the Olympic Games road race in August.