World champion Alejandro Valverde plans to race at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Spaniard was crowned the second oldest road race world champion on Sunday, but is already looking to the future

Alejandro Valverde hopes to ride Olympic road race in 2020 Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

The new world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) says he wants to race until the 2020 Tokyo Games, when he will be 40 years old.

Valverde, 38, became the second oldest road race world champion when he won in Innsbruck, Austria, on Sunday, ahead of Frenchman Romain Bardet and Canadian Michael Woods.

He does not intend on retiring soon.

"This victory is beautiful, I could even retire," Valverde said arriving home on Monday.

"No, I won't, don't worry. I still have a year left in my contract but I confess that I would like to get to the Tokyo Games. It could be the right moment to say goodbye."

>>>Five talking points from the 2018 Worlds men’s road race

Valverde already examined the Yorkshire 2019 World Championship course and the Olympic road race in Tokyo.

The road race in Japan climbs on the slopes of Mount Fuji and includes 4865 metres of climbing. Innsbruck's course totalled to 4670 metres.

"I think my retirement may be there," Valverde said.

"It would be my fifth Games and if I have the level, I would like to go. It's the medal I'm missing."

Valverde turned professional in 2002 and spent his first four years with Team Kelme.

Team Movistar has supported him since.

His contract runs through 2019, but the Spanish WorldTour team is expected to keep Valverde as long as he wants to race.

The 2018 season is not over yet, however.

Valverde will race Italian monument Il Lombardia on October 13 and possibly Milan-Turin and Gran Piemonte beforehand.

"If it were for me, I would have already got on my bike yesterday to train [after the worlds]," said Valverde.

"Next year? The Tour de France is not on the programme, but with the Tour I can't say with certainty 'I won't be there.'"

He should focus on the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d'Italia in the spring.

"I'm very hungry for success. I have done everything in cycling, so what comes now will be a gift."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1