Alejandro Valverde will retire in 2021

The world champion has announced when he will leave the professional peloton

Alejandro Valverde at the 2019 Milan-San Remo (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

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.

Valverde, the reigning world champion, said he plans to ride the Tokyo Olympics next year and then ride one more season.

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The Movistar rider told (opens in new tab) 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.”

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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.

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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.