Alejandro Valverde

Nationality: Spanish
Date of birth: April 25, 1980
Height: 176cm
Weight: 62kg
Team: Movistar
Twitter: @alejanvalverde

Alejandro Valverde won the 2018 UCI Road World Championships, and wore the rainbow jersey through 2019.

His palmarès is one of the most impressive in modern cycling, yet his involvement in Operacion Puerto doping case sullied his reputation and left a huge question mark over the whole of his career.

His only Grand Tour win was the in the Vuelta a España in 2009, but the Spaniard was given a two-year suspension the following year for his use of banned blood-booster EPO.

All of Valverde’s 2010 results were negated, but he came back to the sport almost the rider he was beforehand. Almost, but not quite. He has steadily improved since his return, however, and finally secured a podium spot at the Tour de France in 2015, riding alongside Nairo Quintana, who finished second.

As Spanish champion he went on to take a top-10 finish at the 2015 Vuelta a España and top the UCI WorldTour rankings for a second consecutive year.

His quality has never been in question, but it seems a stretch now to imagine him ever adding another Grand Tour overall win to his palmarès.

2017 saw a real resurgence for the Spanish rider as he added a fourth Liège-Bastogne-Liège title and a fifth La Flèche Wallone win to his collection.

Unfortunately a crash in the opening prologue of the 2017 Tour de France put him out of the race, with a broken knee cap that saw him miss the rest of the season and potentially end his long career.

Remarkably, Valverde returned to racing in early 2018 pretty much as he left off, claiming a host of wins including overall victories in the Volta a Catalunya, Abu Dhabi Tour and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana – and of course the World Championships. This win meant he became the second oldest world champion in history, describing it as his greatest victory to date.

The curse of the rainbow stripes didn’t hold onto the Spaniard long, with his first win of the 2019 season being at the UAE Tour in February. He followed this up by winning the National Championships and a stage win at the Vuelta. However, he was unable to retain the rainbow jersey, after the rainy conditions forced him to abandon with 60km remaining. However, his season was marred by a bone adema which put him on the back foot. He finished his season by coming second at Il Lombardia.