Alejandro Valverde won’t be taking it easy in his 36th year, with his team manager claiming that the Spaniard could ride all three Grand Tours.
Movistar boss Eusebio Unzué told MARCA that the team don’t necessarily want Valverde to ride the Vuelta a España, but the rider himself reportedly wants to.
Already in 2016 Valverde will take on his first ever Giro d’Italia, as well as supporting Nairo Quintana at the Tour de France and challenging for gold in the Olympic road race. Then there’s the small matter of the Ardennes Classics – of which he won two last year – and a host of cobbled races, such as E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders.
“Right now, the idea is that Alejandro does not race the Vuelta,” Unzué told MARCA. “He’s already insinuated it [to race the Vuelta].”
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Valverde will likely start his season at Challenge Mallorca – a series of one-day races at the end of January.
Should the Spaniard’s schedule on Procyclingstats.com be correct, he will race 63 days before the start of the Vuelta on August 20, although add the 21 stages of the Vuelta and the likely participation at Il Lombardia on October 1 and Valverde will still have fewer race days than the 90 he completed in 2015.
“I have no doubt that he’s capable of doing it,” Unzué said of Valverde’s potential schedule. “I think it’s a question of what we demand, and what he demands of himself, without overdoing it. He’s crazy about his profession … and, well, he’s already insinuated it.”
Last year, Tinkoff owner Oleg Tinkov was challenging riders like Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador to ride all three Grand Tours, although none took him up on the €1m offer.
Valverde’s current schedule only lists one stage race outside of the Grand Tours – the Tirreno-Adriatico – compared to the six he raced last season alongside the Tour and the Vuelta.
Racing all three Grand Tours would not leave much room for schedule alterations, but if there’s one rider in the professional peloton who could pull off such a feat it’s Valverde.