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Alejandro Valverde zeroes in on retirement with final races in Italy and Il Lombardia

Spanish veteran to finally call time on long and sometimes controversial career with four races in Italy.

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This time there’s no changing his mind.

Alejandro Valverde confirmed he’s racing the closing events of his long and sometimes controversial career with four one-day races in Italy next month.

The Italian monument Il Lombardia, set for October 8, will be Valverde’s closing act of his career that started in 2002.

“Only four days, all of them in Italy, to close a very long chapter,” Valverde wrote on social media. “We’ll try to do our best and enjoy things to the maximum with the teammates at Movistar.”

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Valverde will also race Coppa Agostoni on Thursday, Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday, Tre Valli Varesine on October 4, and Il Lombardia on October 8.

The 42-year-old Spanish rider skipped the recent UCI Road Cycling World Championships in part because his Movistar squad are in a bitter fight for WorldTour salvation in the UCI’s relegation battle against a half-dozen teams.

Valverde raced all-out during his final grand tour at the Vuelta a España to secure as many points as possible, and the Vuelta points harvest helped push Spain’s lone WorldTour team well away from the “relegation” zone.

Valverde hopes to go out with a bang with the string of one-day Italian races to close out his long career.

Highlights included podiums and stage wins at all three grand tours, including outright victory in the 2009 Vuelta. Among his 133 career wins include the 2018 world title, four editions of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and five editions of La Flèche Wallonne. Valverde was also linked to the Operación Puerto doping scandal, and saw a two-year racing ban in 2010.

Valverde never won Il Lombardia in 10 starts, but finished second on three occasions. The Italia monument is also the final race for Vincenzo Nibali.

Valverde is expected to stay on with Movistar in some sort of advisory/mentor role, but confirmed he will not work as a sport director.