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Alejandro Valverde leaves door open on retirement if COVID derails 2021

Spanish star will not start the Tour de France and hopes to race Olympics before Vuelta a España farewell.

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Alejandro Valverde insists he will retire in 2021, but left himself a small opening to keep racing next year if the coronavirus pandemic completely derails his farewell season.

Valverde, who turns 41 in April, revealed to the Spanish daily MARCA that he has a four-year contract with Team Movistar, meaning that the door is still open to race in 2022 if he wants to.

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“I have four more years of contract with Abarca,” Valverde said of the team’s holding company. “As a rider this is it, and then I will help the team from another role. I will decide as the season unfolds. The only reason [to race in 2022] would be if for one reason or another the season ends up very dull. It would be a shame to leave if there are hardly any races due to the virus, and the season is grey and flat. I wouldn’t like that, and I would reconsider it.”

During a Team Movistar presentation Thursday, Valverde confirmed he would not be racing the Tour de France in his final season. After hitting the final podium once in 13 starts, with third in 2015, Valverde’s Tour career is already over.

The veteran Spanish rider said his early-season focus will be on more run across the Ardennes classics before the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España.

“It’s a shame to not have been able to race [the Olympics] last year,” he told MARCA. “I hope they do not cancel or postpone them, and we can all be there. I like the course, and I believe it can be good for me … I’d like that [the Vuelta] would be like a party for being the last year. I’ll enjoy it and try to win again, but I won’t obsess over it. If the wins come, they will, if not, well, no pasa nada. I’ve had a great time during all these years, and I hope the ending is just as good.”

Preliminary 2021 calendar for Alejandro Valverde

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Volta a Catalunya
Amstel Gold Race
Flèche Wallonne
Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Olympic Games
Vuelta a España