Alejandro Valverde: ‘Grandad hasn’t had his last word’

The veteran Spaniard says he'll fight on for victory in the final week of the Vuelta a España

Alejandro Valverde on stage nine of the Vuelta a España 2019 (Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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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.”

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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).

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. 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.