Alejandro Valverde confirms that he plans to retire at the end of 2021
Alejandro Valverde has confirmed that he plans to retire from racing at the end of 2021.
The 40-year-old Spaniard had already said last season that he intended to call it a career at the end of this one. Although some reports later emerged suggesting he might ride on past this year, Valverde said at Movistar’s team presentation on Thursday that 2021 would mark his final season as a pro.
“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.”
Valverde’s retirement will put an end to a career that has spanned nearly two decades of racing in the pro ranks. Valverde turned pro with the Kelme-Costa Blanca team back in 2002 and rode with the squad for three seasons before joining the Illes Balears-Caisse d’Epargne team that would eventually become Movistar in 2005. He has raced every season since then with the team, barring the period in which he served a doping ban following Operación Puerto.
For 2021, Valverde is targeting the Tokyo Olympics as a major objective, along with the Ardennes Classics and the Vuelta a España. Regardless of how things plays out in this final campaign, at the end of this season, Valverde will retire as the winner of at least one world title (in 2018), four Monuments (he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2006, 2008, 2015, and 2017), and a Grand Tour (the 2009 Vuelta a España), along with 17 Grand Tour stages and numerous one-week GC titles and stages.
After he hangs up the proverbial wheels, Valverde is expected to continue to be involved with Movistar in some capacity, having signed a contract to remain a part of the team through 2024. Amid his final season, cycling fans will also have the opportunity to get a closer look at the inner workings of his Movistar team during the 2020 season. The squad announced on Thursday that a second season of the documentary series “El día menos pensado” (The Least Expected Day) will debut this year.