Alejandro Valverde: Finishing second in the Vuelta motivates me for the World Championships

After finishing strong in Spain, Valverde is confident about his chances of defending his rainbow jersey

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Alejandro Valverde said he is motivated and in good form for the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships, having finished second in the Vuelta a España.

The Movistar star leader and defending world champion said the brutal Yorkshire course is good for him, but does not suit him as well as last year’s climber’s Worlds in Innsbruck, Austria.

Valverde is expected to lead the eight-rider Spanish squad, which also features the Izagirre brothers, Marc Soler and Luis León Sánchez.

>>> British Cycling confirms men’s road race and time trial squads for Yorkshire 2019 World Championships

The 39-year-old Spanish newspaper AS: “[Finishing second in the Vuelta] Definitely motivates me, it means I’m in great form. Better than finishing 55th. We now have enough time from the end of the Vuelta to regain strength, rest, focus and go.

“It’s a good World Championships for me, but not as good as Innsbruck. You have to be realistic and last year suited very few riders while this year the race is quite open. I have options, but fewer than last year.”

When asked if he was the favoured rider for the Spanish squad Valverde was coy, saying he will hand over to his team-mates if his form leaves him as the elite men’s road race explodes on Sunday, September 29.

The reigning Spanish champion picked out Greg Van Avermaet, Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe as his most dangerous rivals on the 285km route from Leeds to Harrogate for the Yorkshire Worlds. 

Valverde heads into the worlds after a hard-fought Vuelta, where he was among the top tier of overall favourites.

>>> These are the key climbs in the men’s road race at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships 

Having moved onto the podium after the time trial on stage 11 in Pau, Valverde was locked in a battle with race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who proved unshakable in the mountains, eventually carrying the red jersey to Madrid.

Valverde was consistent over the three weeks, winning stage seven to Mas de la Costa and finishing in second spot overall, 2-33 behind the winner.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.