It's official, Alejandro Valverde is the most popular rider at the Tour de France

Well, so says the official Tour de France post service

(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

He's not even leading his Movistar team at the Tour de France this year, instead supporting Nairo Quintana, but Alejandro Valverde is still officially the most popular ride at the Tour de far.

How do we know? Well that's according to the Tour's official postal service, Docapost who tally up the number of messages sent to each individual rider during the race.

In fact, the French company have an individual and team classification for those who receive the most mail, with Spanish champion Valverde leading the overall ahead of last year's champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) after the first week of racing.


Rui and Bertie, unlikely to catch Valverde at this point (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Portuguese champion Costa, who won the popularity contest in both 2013 and 2014, has since abandoned the Tour and which will see his chances of catching Valverde evaporate. Which must have been his biggest consideration before he climbed off in the Pyrenees on stage 11.

Valverde is racing away after the first week, with 116 messages ahead of Costa's 41 and Alberto Contador's (Tinkoff-Saxo) seven. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) are flying the flag for the French, but at six and five messages respectively, they're not receiving much back from the home crowd

Will anybody be able to catch Valverde before the race reaches Paris?

Tour de France 2015 post competition, provisional individual classification:

1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, 116 messages

2. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, 41 messages

3. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, 7 messages

4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 6 messages

5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, 5 messages

Tour de France 2014 post competition, final individual classification

1. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, 506 messages

2. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura, 112 messages

3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, 82 messages

4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, 64 messages

5. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar, 44 messages

You can find out how to send a message to your favourite rider at the Tour by visiting Docapost.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).