With Carlos Betancur looking to get his career back on track at Movistar, his new boss Eusebio Unzue paid him a complement by comparing him to the Grand Tour champion he is riding for at the Giro d’Italia.
Unzue likened the Colombian, who was released by Ag2r La Mondiale before the end of the 2015 season for behavioural and weight issues, to Alejandro Valverde – winner of the Vuelta a España and multiple Ardennes Classics.
Betancur has enjoyed a return to some kind of form since riding with Movistar, winning stages at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and the Vuelta Asturias and helping Valverde to his fourth Flèche Wallonne win in April.
“Betancur has many things that remind me of Alejandro,” Unzue said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. “His only trouble is being professional 365 days a year. We are working on the lack of willpower. I believe in him.”
Alejandro Valverde’s Canyon Speedmax TT bike
While Betancur is certainly one for the future, Valverde is entering his twilight years but shows no sign of slowing down.
Unzue believes the Spaniard, who turned 36 in April, will continue to be just as strong in the 2017 season, challenging for Grand Tours and winning more Ardennes Classics.
“I bet that next year he will continue with the best. His athletic decay is very slow, I think even at 40 years he will be competitive,” Unzue said.