Valverde: Olympic gold would be good, but it's not the same as a World Championship

Alejandro Valverde says he will target the Tour de France in 2016 as a build up to the Olympic Games road race

Alejandro Valverde after stage twenty-one of the 2015 Tour of Spain
(Image credit: Watson)

Alejandro Valverde is the latest rider to throw his name into the ring for the Olympic road race in Rio next year, but he insists that gold at the Games would not make up for his failure to win a World Championships.

Valverde has finished on the podium six times at the Worlds but has never stood on the top step - one of the few achievements missing from his impressive palmares.

His third Fleche Wallonne title was followed by his third victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and a third-place at the Tour de France, and Valverde expects a similar schedule this year - with the addition of the Rio 2016 Games.

"I have not spoken with Movistar and Eusebio Unzue, however, I imagine that my 2016 schedule will be similar to other seasons," Valverde said in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS.

"The Tour will be important in order to get in shape for the Olympic Games. An Olympic gold is not the same as a World Championship, but I would rate it as excellent icing on my palmares."

Valverde attended the launch of the 2016 Giro d'Italia route earlier in October and mentioned to reporters that he would, one day, like to ride the Grand Tour - the only one he's never attempted - but with a hectic season ahead it he said next year would not see his Italian debut.

"Of course [I would like to attempt the Giro], although perhaps it is more appropriate this year to prepare for the Tour and Rio," he added.

Valverde's Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana also announced he will be challenging for the Tour de France and Olympic double next season, with rival Chris Froome also looking at the same challenge.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.