Alejandro Valverde said there’s no need to race three-week grand tours in the remodeled racing calendar.
“What they should have done was cut each grand tour by one week,” Valverde told Spanish journalists. “It’s a special year, and it doesn’t make sense to have all the grand tours be raced for three weeks, because then we’ll go very long into the season.”
With coronavirus keeping the lid on racing until the end of July, Valverde expressed dismay at organizers’ insistence that their grand tours be raced at full length despite what’s looking to be an abbreviated calendar that could extend until the end of November.
“With 15 days of racing, that would be enough for the fans to enjoy it and that the races can survive,” Valverde said. “It’s normal that the Tour goes first. They decided something else and we have to accept it, but if it were up to me, I would have reduced the grand tours, and put in some other races in between.”
Valverde is already mapping out an adjusted calendar — one that looks very much like his previous one. He’s planning on racing the Tour, world championships, and Vuelta a España.
“It’s going to be a special year,” he said. “You could do several things, but I believe this is better than other options.”
Key stakeholders have mapped out a men’s racing calendar that would begin in August, with the Tour running from August 29 – September 20. The Giro d’Italia would come after the world championships, September 20 – 27 in Switzerland, with the Vuelta a España running in November. Other one-day races and stage races will fill out the calendar.
After training only on the indoor trainer since mid-March, Valverde is hopeful Spain will lift restrictions in May so riders can train outdoors again.
“You’d need two months,” Valverde said when how long riders could use of normal training before racing the Tour. “I have no idea what’s going to happen when I head out on the road again. I don’t know how much time I’ll need to be in good form for the Tour.”
Valverde, who celebrated his 40th birthday last week, said he’s committed to racing until the end of his current contract through the 2021 season.
“I don’t know,” he said if he is considering extending his career. “Right now, we’ll get through this year and see how we start next year. We’ll look at it later, because right now the situation is complicated.
“[Missing a year] changes things. It’s one thing from 25 to 26, but from 40 to 41, it’s something else,” he said. “My plan is to race the Olympics and do it the best way possible, but we’ll see if my body responds the way I’d like.”