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.
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.