After historic Giro finish, Amador to work for Valverde in 2016

Andrey Amador registered the best grand tour finish of any Central-American rider in 2015, but next year he will work for Alejandro Valverde.

Andrey Amador, the Costa Rican who rode to fourth in this year’s Giro d’Italia, will sacrifice his chances for his Movistar team in 2016.

Despite his Central American-best placing in the Giro, the 29-year-old said he will ride to support Alejandro Valverde in the 2016 edition of the Italian grand tour.

“There is no problem. Alejandro is the maximum leader,” Amador said in an interview. “We’ll build a strong block around him, and I am happy to help him, and I am content to be able to contribute to the success of the team.”

In May, Amador’s GC result was the highest grand tour finish by a Central-American rider. A solid all-rounder, Amador delivered on the promise of his Giro stage victory in 2012. In 2011, he became the first Costa Rican to start the Tour de France.

“[Fourth at the Giro] helps you believe in yourself,” he continued. “The result helps you to keep working and to stay motivated. To see myself up front means that the hard work pays off.”

A pro since joining Movistar in 2009, Amador will slip into helper mode as Valverde is set to race the Italian grand tour for the first time in his career. The Spanish superstar will have a solid chance at the podium, and Amador said the team can count on his help.

“I want to go back to the Giro. It’s a race I’ve always liked,” Amador said. “I am always motivated for the Giro, and that showed by my fourth place this year. I’d like to do it again, but it all depends on the form.”

Amador is also a solid classics rider, and is a key part of Movistar’s program for the one-day races across France and Belgium. He’s raced more than a dozen monuments, and he’s putting renewed focus on the northern classics for 2016.

“I’ve always liked those races, though I’ve had a bit of bad luck,” he said. “I was solid in 2015, but I had to have an [elbow] operation after a crash at E3-Harelbeke. I hope someday things go my way.”

Amador returns to his native Costa Rica for the winter, where he is a national hero and was once beaten up by thugs, and will debut at the Mallorca Challenge in late January. Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico are on his schedule before the spring classics.