Victory at La Fleche Wallonne, San Sebastian and a stage at the Vuelta were the Spaniard’s biggest wins of the year, but his consistent ability to finish in the top four at races earned him enough points to finish as world number one ahead of compatriot Alberto Contador.
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“Finishing number one is reward for the work all year,” Valverde told Marca, “It means the season has been very good.”
“I’ve always been there in the best races and consistency has been very important. It’s clear that the World Championships is the biggest prize for a cyclist, but if you think about it, the world rankings should have the same importance.”
The 34-year-old Movistar rider just missed out on a podium spot at the Tour de France in July, but says he began to focus on the WorldTour rankings leading into the Vuelta in August.
“The Vuelta went well and while I knew that Alberto was ahead, I had my options because I trusted that I could take many points at Lombardy [where he finished second]” Valverde said.
“I am more than satisfied with the year and already signed for a similar year in 2015.”
Fourth spot was Valverde’s best ever finish in a Tour de France, but says that it left a “bad taste in my mouth” having been in control of a podium place until the latter stages of the Tour.
In terms of 2015 goals, Valverde aims to ride the Giro d’Italia, a race he’s never competed in despite 14 years as a professional, albeit with two years out due to a doping suspension.
“The Giro is a race I’ve never done and I said I would try it once; I have enough experience in the Tour and the Vuelta,” he said.
“The three Grand Tours? Why not, although we haven’t discussed anything [for next year] yet.”
Valverde was also clear that he would not be aiming for Tour victory next year, as Nairo Quintana will lead Movistar in the 2015 edition, saying that the Colombian has “already shown more than enough to be eligible for a win at the Tour.”
Alberto Contador aiming for three consecutive Grand Tours after winning 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Chris Froome finishes eventful year at the Road World Championships on Sunday