Alejandro Valverde has said that he no longer has any plans to retire after the Olympic Games, expressing confidence that he will continue riding next season.
The Spaniard turned 41 on the day he finished fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April, and the 2018 world champion showed that he is still capable of winning the biggest races when he triumphed on stage six of the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.
It was thought, based on what the Movistar rider had repeated in the past, that the current Tour de France would be his last and he would bow out of the sport after competing in the road race at Tokyo 2020.
But ahead of the Tour, his 14th participation in the race, he told Eurosport (opens in new tab)that he will remain a member of the peloton even after he has returned from Japan.
“I don’t know if this will be my last Tour or not, but I have it clearer that I don’t think this will be my last season," Valverde said.
“In theory, the idea is that I will continue. The result I will do at the Olympic Games will not influence my future.”
Valverde is targeting stage wins at the Tour and finished the crash-affected opening stage more than five minutes behind winner Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, ruling out any hope his followers had of him competing for the GC.
Not that he ever had any plans of that. “I will forget the GC and try and search for a victory,” he said.
His recent performances have assured him of his worthiness in the peloton, coming off the back of a 2020 that was poor by his lofty, consistent standards.
“This [the result at the Dauphiné] gave me encouragement and a lot of motivation,” he added.
“I know I can do well and fight for whatever stage. I can help the team as well in difficult moments.”
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