Alejandro Valverde has announced that, at the end of 2021, he expects to retire from racing.
The 40-year-old Spaniard had already said last season that, at the end of this one, he intended to call it a career. While some rumours later emerged indicating that he could ride this year, Valverde said at Movistar’s team presentation on Thursday that his final season as a pro will be marked by 2021.
The retirement of Valverde would bring an end to a career in the pro ranks that has spanned almost two decades of racing. Back in 2002, Valverde became a pro with the Kelme-Costa Blanca team and rode for three seasons with the squad before joining the Illes Balears-Caisse d’Epargne team, which would eventually become Movistar in 2005. Since then, he has been racing with the team every season, except the time in which he served a doping ban following Operación Puerto.
“I’m thinking that this is the last year, but I’m getting underway with the same enthusiasm and with the intention of doing well for the team and if the victories come, much better,” Valverde said, according to EuropaPress. “But I am starting with the idea that this is the last.”
For 2021, along with the Ardennes Classics and the Vuelta a España, Valverde is targeting the Tokyo Olympics as a main aim. At the end of this season, Valverde will retire as the holder of at least one world championship (in 2018), four Monuments (he claimed Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2006, 2008, 2015, and 2017), and a Grand Tour (the 2009 Vuelta a España), along with 17 Grand Tour stages and various one-week GC titles and stages, regardless of how things turn out in this final campaign.
Valverde is expected to continue to be active with Movistar in some way after he hangs up the proverbial pedals, having signed a deal to remain a part of the team until 2024. Cycling enthusiasts will also have the chance to get a closer look at the inner workings of his Movistar squad during the 2020 season in the midst of his final season. On Thursday, the squad revealed that the second season of the “El día menos pensado” (The Least Planned Day) documentary series will debut this year.