Giro d'Italia

Valverde to miss Giro due to Liège injury

Alejandro Valverde will skip the Giro d'Italia to recover from injuries suffered in a training crash

Reigning world champion Alejandro Valverde will skip the upcoming Giro d’Italia to recover from injuries, his Movistar team confirmed Friday.

Valverde, 38, suffered a bone edema in his sacrum following a crash during a training session prior to Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège in Belgium. In  a statement, Movistar said the crash occurred last Thursday, and Valverde landed on his coccyx.

Valverde was a rare DNF at the Belgian classic, a race he has won four times. He climbed off his bicycle with 100km remaining in the race.

“[Valverde] will continue to recover, taking no risks, to find back his best form in the upcoming weeks and start building up for the second half of his 2019 season,” the statement said.

The DNF capped off a calamitous Ardennes campaign for Valverde, who reportedly swallowed a bee midway through La Flèche Wallonne, and was distanced in the final sprint up the Mur de Huy. He seemed to lack the legs to compete at Amstel Gold Race, and finished a distant 66th.

Valverde had been a key member of Movistar’s Giro lineup, alongside Mikel Landa and Richard Carapaz. He has only raced the Giro once during his career, and finished third there in 2016.

The team has yet to name a replacement for Valverde for the three-week race. The abandonment of the Giro could lead Valverde to start the Tour de France alongside Nairo Quintana, who will be looking to challenge for the podium on the mountainous course.

“It is a shame not to finally go to a great test like that Giro, but you have to listen to the body and recover to 100 percent to face the best possible the rest of the year,” Valverde wrote on Twitter. “Good luck to my teammates in Italy.”