Alejandro Valverde’s Giro d’Italia in doubt after birthday training crash

The world champion may be forced to abandon his Grand Tour plans due to his injuries

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

Alejandro Valverde may be forced to abandon plans to ride the Giro d’Italia after he suffered nasty injuries in a training crash on his birthday.

The Movistar rider came down three days before Liège-Bastogne-Liège, later abandoning the final spring Monument just over 100km from home.

His team said the four-time winner had pulled out due to “various physical problems,” but did not give further details.

Hospital scans carried out on Monday (April 29) revealed Valverde was suffering from a buildup of fluid in his lower back after the fall.

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A statement from Movistar, released on Tuesday (April 30) said: “Alejandro Valverde underwent scans in Murcia on Monday to examine the area damaged by his crash during a training ride last Thursday, prior to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“The checkups confirmed bone edema in his sacrum.

“[His] Giro appearance depends on his recovery.”

This year the reigning world champion was due to ride only his second Giro d’Italia, alongside fellow Spaniard Mikel Landa.

Valverde, who celebrated his 39th birthday on Thursday, has struggled to find previous form so far this season.

He has taken just one stage win so far in 2019 – stage three of the UAE Tour – and does not have a general classification victory to his name.

By the end of April last year Valverde had taken nine wins, including three overall titles.

Last month, Valverde announced the date he plans to retire from professional cycling.

He confirmed he plans to ride the Tokyo Olympics next year, then ride one more season before retiring in 2021.

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The Movistar rider told el Periódico: (opens in new tab) “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.”

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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.