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.
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 Liege-Bastogne-Liege title and a fifth La Fleche Wallone win to his collection. The regularity with which he has won La Fleche Wallone has even prompted race organisers to potentially move the finishing line to give other riders a chance to win.
Remarkably, Valverde returned to racing in early 2018 pretty much as he left off, claiming a host of wins including oveall victories in the Volta a Catalunya, Abu Dhabi Tour and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana – and of course the UCI world champs.