Alejandro Valverde has announced he will retire in 2021.
The Spaniard revealed he intends to leave the peloton in two seasons time, at the age of 40.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Valverde, the reigning world champion, said he plans to ride the Tokyo Olympics next year and then ride one more season.
The Movistar rider told el Periódico: “The plan is to retire in 2021.
“I will do one more season after the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I think that’s fine.
“I want to be at home and enjoy time with my family.
“Then I will see if I dedicate myself to the team of kids I’m promoting in Murcia or if I’m still involved with Movistar.
“In 2021 I will have ridden 19 seasons.”
Valverde turned pro with Kelme-Costa Blanca in 2002, joining Caisse d’Epargne in 2006 and sticking with the Spanish outfit when it became Movistar in 2011.
His career has been decorated with glory, including the Vuelta a España in 2009, Liège-Bastogne-Liège four times, and the rainbow jersey last year.
When asked about the secret of his success, Valverde said: “I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of my ability and because I enjoy what I do.
“I have been very well advised by my team and then there is my family.
“It is also very important to always go out to train with my group of cyclists in Murcia, and attack them every day.”
In 2010, Valverde was banned for doping for two years as part of the Operation Puerto investigation.
He never tested positive but was linked to the doping ring by DNA evidence seized by police during raids targeting doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. He has always denied doping.
Most recently Valverde said she shouldn’t be asked about Operation Puerto because it is in the past.
This attitude has split opinion among cycling fans, while Valverde remains one of the most respected riders in the professional peloton.