Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué said Alejandro Valverde is considering racing all three grand tours this year. According to a report in the Spanish daily MARCA (link in Spanish), Valverde could race the Vuelta a España after likely starts in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.
“Right now, the idea is that Alejandro does not race the Vuelta,” Unzué told MARCA at the Vuelta presentation over the weekend. “He’s already insinuated it [to race the Vuelta].”
Valverde will race the Giro d’Italia for the first time of his career this season, and he will likely start the Tour de France as well to prepare for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Despite finishing third overall in last year’s Tour, Valverde will ride in full support of Nairo Quintana and will use the Tour as a trampoline toward Rio.
“I have no doubt that he’s capable of doing it,” Unzué said of Valverde racing all three grand tours. “I think it’s a question of what we demand, and what he demands of himself, without overdoing it. He’s crazy about his profession … and, well, he’s already insinuated it.”
For 2016, Valverde is focusing on one-day classics, and will only race one stage race — Tirreno-Adriatico — before the Giro, Unzué confirmed. He will debut at the Mallorca Challenge before racing at Strade Bianche, Tirreno, and Milano-Sanremo. After getting a taste of the pavé last year, he returns to Belgium with a possible start in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) before targeting the Ardennes classics again, where he is the defending champion at La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“It just wouldn’t be right if Alejandro didn’t race the Giro at least once,” Unzué continued. “As versatile as he is, you can always count on him wherever he goes, and he confirmed that last year reaching the podium at the Tour. We cannot expect more.”
So far, only a handful of top riders have committed to racing the Vuelta, including Quintana and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge). Three-time winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) is leaving the door open to a possible start in what’s likely his final season in the pro peloton.