Alejandro Valverde: ‘I was freezing – with the weather it was a crazy day’

The 2018 world champion abandoned the men’s road race in awful conditions

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alejandro Valverde has explained his decision to abandon the men’s road race at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championship in awful weather.

Valverde pulled out of the 260km race as the remains of the peloton took on the challenging Harrogate finishing circuit in torrential rain.

The weather has caused dozens of riders to step off the bike, with Spaniard Valverde throwing in the towel with 80km to race.

>>> Ben Swift: ‘Laying in intensive care, coming back is the last thing on your mind’ 

Valverde told Spanish newspaper As: “I was freezing and I told my team-mates that I could not continue.

“We knew we were going to ride a very demanding Worlds, but with this adverse weather it became a crazy day.”

The conditions have forced a number of favourites out of the race, including Philippe Gilbert (Bel) who crashed on the finishing straight and was unable to catch the peloton.

Belgian Gilbert, who was one of the favourites going into the race, was brought down by a crash with 120km to go, as the peloton entered the Harrogate circuit.

The 37-year-old got back up, grimacing, as Remco Evenepoel tried to shepherd him back up to the peloton.

Organisers were forced to change the route from Leeds to Harrogate because of the weather, removing the two final major climbs and increasing the number of laps on the finishing circuit from seven to nine.

The race was diverted at Bishopdale Beck, just outside Aysgarth, and instead riders headed east up Temple Bank and along the A468 to Leyburn where the race continued as normal.

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Heavy downpours have blighted Yorkshire overnight with the northern section of the race badly affected by the adverse weather.

Other big name abandons include Geraint Thomas, who had been riding in support of Ben Swift for the British team.

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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.