Valverde’s Olympic hopes complicated by delay

Movistar captain would be 41 next summer if the Olympic Games are rescheduled during the same window, but vows to race in 2021.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and his gold-medal dreams took a blow this week with the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games until 2021.

If the Olympic Games are rescheduled for the same dates next year, Valverde will be 41.

“Of course, I’ll be 41 years old then and everything will be more difficult, but I’ve got one more year on my contract,” Valverde said via a video message. “The postponement of the Olympics Games was inevitable. In 2021, if I’m going well, and the national coach selects me, I’ll be in the Olympics and do it to the maximum.”

The Olympic road race was a top priority for Valverde this season. With coronavirus upending the international racing calendar, the Spanish star is cooling his jets just like everyone else.

“We are here at home, trying to get through it the best we can,” he said. In Spain, cyclists are not allowed to ride outside, so he’s been riding the rollers to try to stay fit. “The most important thing is everyone’s health, and that we can get past this virus the best way possible.”

Valverde was hoping to race the Tour de France this summer in preparation for the Olympics. With Tokyo off the calendar, he is still hoping the Tour will be raced.

“We can go 100 percent for the Tour with a strong team, if the race still happens,” Valverde said. “Not having the Olympics changes everything. We will give our all in all the races at the end of the season.”

Valverde reconfirmed his plans to race a full season in 2021 no matter what happens, adding that he will stay with the Movistar ownership group after he finally hangs up the cleats.

“With this stop, I don’t know if I’ll extend my contract or not but I’m planning on riding a full season in 2021,” he said. “If I am riding well, and if I’m selected, I’d love to race the Olympics next year.”