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Alejandro Valverde: ‘I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished’

The WorldTour's oldest rider said he won't change his mind about retirement, and will target the Giro-Vuelta double in final season.

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There’s no changing his mind this time for Alejandro Valverde.

After hemming and hawing about retirement over the past few seasons, the Spanish veteran reconfirms that the 2022 will be his last.

“I won’t change my mind,” Valverde told the Spanish daily AS. “I know that I am [41], and that my body has 41 years, but my mind is if I’m still 23. I feel good very good physically, motivated to win more races. I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished.”

Valverde said he didn’t want to retire in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic or last year, when he crashed out of the Vuelta a España with a broken clavicle.

Valverde, who’s career has been marked by ups and downs, with links to drug scandals to the world title, said he’s intent on enjoying his final season.

“I’m looking ahead to winning some more races, but now I don’t upset when I don’t win,” he told the Spanish sports daily. “[When I stop] maybe I will feel a bit of liberation as well as sadness, but also great satisfaction.

“I’ll also be excited about starting a new phase of my life. I won’t stop riding with my friends, but I won’t have that pressure to get results.”

Valverde did reveal to AS that he has a contract for 2023, but says he will work as an ambassador role for the team.

Valverde reconfirmed that he will not race the Tour de France, and hopes that he can race both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta.

He will debut at the Mallorca Challenge, followed by stage races at Valencia, Murcia and Ruta del Sol. He’ll have a busy spring, with Strade Bianche, Volta a Catalunya, and the Ardennes.

His uncommitted about the worlds or Il Lombardia, and many expect the Vuelta to be his final race.

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