Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), will face his last Vuelta a España at the age of 42 with the memory of the round he won in 2009 coming from the Netherlands itself.
now, will defend “motivated and with the illusion of always” the interests of the team and the best possible position of Enric Maswho was supported by “Bala” as a leader and in the mental aspect after his crash in the Tour de France.
“For me a good result is that it is accompanied by health, without falls, and if later I win a stage it will be milk, it’s very nice. The idea is to help the team“, said Valverde in Utrecht, where the 77th edition of the Vuelta a España starts this Friday.
So far, the experience of 20 years as a professional has served for Valverde to serve as support to Enric Masaffected personally and sportingly after the crisis he suffered in the Tour de France, which he finally had to leave also trapped by Covid.
“I already talked to Enric, but we just need to talk about it. I advised him to be calm, he has a good physical shape and class. It was difficult times in sports and in personal life, the same thing happened to me and it turned out perfectly. I see him more calm and confident, also the Vuelta is a calmer race than the Tour”.
THE MEMORY OF HOLLAND’S LEAVING IN 2009
After seven podium finishes at the Vuelta and the general classification in 2009, Valverde has made no secret of his love for the Spanish round, which he hopes to bid farewell in style.
“The Vuelta is my favorite, as well as the Giro and the Tour. I really enjoyed the race at home, the love of the publicand this year I also want to enjoy, and for that I will try to do my best”, he assured.
A stage win is the dream farewell, but the interests of the team and placing Enric Mas as high as possible in the general classification are priority goals for the Murcian.
“I have not marked any stage in red, what I want is to do well to find the general with Enric, and tomorrow we will fight for a stage. Any stage would be welcome, but we want to do well as a team”, he admitted.
Valverde referred to Enric Mas and showed his confidence in the Balearic cyclist, who, in his opinion, was able to blame his role as the sole leader of the team in the last Tour.
“This is Enric’s first year as the sole leader of the team and the pressure may have affected him, but I see him as mature for that challenge.. The body is human, sometimes it’s not what one wants, but I see it as mature,” he said.
The 2018 world champion, at the age of 42, ruled his farewell year to the Vuelta and professional cycling the fact of competing with the best in general.
“Removing that possibility. I no longer qualify to be with the best in a 21-day race, and we also have Enric to fight for the general, and why not, to win the Vuelta,” he said.
“Bala” recalled that the only time the Tour of Holland started, in 2009, he won in Madrid. “Now Enric, who is my housemate, will have it,” he thought.
“THE POINTS ARE A HEADACHE”
As for Movistar’s need to earn UCI points to avoid relegation, Valverde admitted it was a latent issue, but he shouldn’t be obsessed either.
“Ultimately, the issue is there, but we have to focus on sports and forget about it. The distribution of points in different races is not well balanced and it is giving us a headache, but we will save it with solvency,” he said.
After making sure that there will not be a step back in his decision to retire, Valverde said that he is ready to hang up the bike mentally.
“One has to get used to the idea. This is the last year, I will adapt without any problem, although it will be difficult after 20 years professional. I will be fine, I will be with the family, although I will be with the team for 2 more years. Let’s see what my role is. I will enjoy the bike, but in a different way,” he concluded.
Source: La Verdad