Alejandro Valverde’s road to Tokyo will go through the Tour de France.
In an apparent change of heart from earlier comments suggesting that he might skip the Tour ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, Movistar officials confirmed that the 2018 world champion will indeed race the Tour.
Unlike other riders, such as Romain Bardet and Vincenzo Nibali, who are deciding to race the Giro d’Italia in order to have some recovery time before the Olympics, Valverde will instead race the Tour.
With newcomer Enric Mas expected to lead, Valverde will have a free ride in the Tour. Evidently the 39-year-old Valverde believes that racing the Tour is the ideal preparation for the Olympics.
With the men’s race only six days following the conclusion of the Tour, another question will be if Valverde rides all the way to Paris.
“The riders who finish the Tour will be there until 9 p.m., and travel the next day to Tokyo,” Unzué said. “At the earliest they won’t arrive until Tuesday, without time for adaption. That won’t be a problem for [Valverde]. He knows how to adapt well to the time differences and with the climate of every country.”
Many top riders are juggling their respective 2020 racing calendars in order to make room for a shot at the Olympic gold medal on what’s a very challenging course.