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 (opens in new tab): “[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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