Alejandro Valverde says “granddad hasn’t had his last word” as he continues to battle for the Vuelta a España title.
The Spaniard sits second overall after 15 days of racing and is looking for opportunities to topple race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
Movistar leader Valverde won stage seven to Mas de la Costa, narrowly beating Roglič and then cemented his position as one of the strongest general classification contenders during the time trial on stage 10, where he jumped to second place.
Speaking after stage 15, where Valverde and Roglič once again duked it out on the road to Santuario del Acebo, the 39-year-old told Spanish newspaper AS: “Grandpa hasn’t had his last word.
“I do not know if I can fight for this Vuelta, but if I do it will be for second or first. I will go every day.”
Valverde was the first of the GC contenders to attack on the final climb of stage 15, with Roglič the only man able to follow.
The rivals finished together in eighth and ninth, further securing their advantages over the rest of the field but without any major changes overall.
Valverde added: “We were fighting from the beginning with [Marc] Soler in the breakaway and then he waited for me to help me, I want to thank him and the team for the work.”
Movistar have been characteristically strong in Spain, with Nairo Quintana winning a stage and briefly holding the race lead, but the home team have found themselves chasing Roglič after the Slovenian put in a storming time trial performance on day 10.
Quintana has now slipped to fifth overall, 5-09 down on Roglič after he lost time in the time trial and then struggled on the final summit of stage 15.
Valverde is now Movistar’s best hope, 2-25 down on the race leader and with a more than a minute buffer to third-place Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).