Alejandro Valverde has announced that he is staying at Movistar Team for another year, which could be his last season as a professional cyclist.
The Spaniard shared the news that he will be staying with Movistar for the 2022 season on his Twitter account (opens in new tab), for his 18th year with the Spanish-based team.
He said: "Happy to confirm that I will be pedalling one more year with the family. With the desire and enthusiasm of the first day, contributing the most to Movistar and looking to enjoy each race."
The tweet also features a video confirming the announcement, which follows the 41-year-old walking through the team headquarters, looking at the team bikes he has ridden for the majority of his professional career. A backdropped commentary of the rider's 2009 Vuelta a España accompanies this section of the video.
A whiteboard also displays each season that Valverde has spent with the team, starting in 2005, before the Spaniard adds '2022' at the bottom to signify he has extended his contract with the team for another year.
Contento de confirmar que estaré dando pedales un año más junto a la familia. Con las ganas y la ilusión del primer día, aportando lo máximo a @Movistar_Team y buscando disfrutar de cada carrera.#RodamosJuntos | #LaÚltimaBala 🚀💙 pic.twitter.com/YlyVlwm11eNovember 3, 2021
The video ends by with a screen displaying the text, 'La última Bala', which translates to 'the last bullet', suggesting that the 41-year-old will retire after the 2022 season.
Nicknamed 'The Bullet', Valverde has previously said that he will retire after the 2022 season, stating: “I say it with absolute certainty: it will be my last year as a professional cyclist."
However, 'La última Bala' is also questioned soon afterwards, suggesting that while Valverde has confirmed 2022 as his last in professional cycling, there is still some ambiguity as to whether the Spaniard will leave after nearly two decades with the team.
Movistar Team also tweeted the same video, thanking Valverde for his services to the team. The tweet also included the words:
"Enjoy this one, mate. Thanks for everything."
In 17 years with the Spanish-based team, Valverde has enjoyed considerable success, including winning the 2009 Vuelta a España and a number of stage race and Classics wins. He joined the team, then known as Illes Balears–Caisse d'Epargne, in 2005 from Kelme when he was 24-years-old. Now 41, the 2018 world road race champion will add an 18th year to his time with Movistar, and potentially his last.
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Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.
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