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by Neal Rogers
February 21, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: 25 teams selected for Paris-Roubaix; Valverde reflects on achieving 100 career victories; Barry questioned use of Tramadol with team management during time riding at Sky; Contador to ride in support of Mollema at Abu Dhabi Tour; Van Garderen to lead BMC Racing Team at Abu Dhabi Tour; Bahrain-Merida with Bonifazio for sprints, Nibali for GC at Abu Dhabi Tour; Brisbane cyclist killed by 21-year-old motorist with provisional license; The man who lived on his bike, until his bike was stolen.
After achieving his 100th career victory at Ruta del Sol, Alejandro Valverde has reflected on feelings after becoming only the second Spaniard to reach the milestone.
Valverde, whose pro career began in 2002 with Kelme-Costa Blanca, and was interrupted by an 18-month suspension in 2010-2011, holds the record of podium finishes at the World Championships (six), most wins at Flèche Wallonne (four), Vuelta a Murcia and Ruta del Sol (five each), and the largest age difference between his first and (latest) stage win in the Vuelta a España (12 years).
“It’s clearly been a special win. Not only because of the milestone, but also due to the way it unfolded, the rivals against whom I claimed it, and how hard the team worked to make it easier for me,” Valverde said. “To be honest, I didn’t start thinking about victory number 100 until I won in Murcia last week. There, I realized that it was only left two for hundred, and I knew that I’d be in great form for Andalucía, with two or three stages that suited my conditions. In the end, it all went as if we had planned, with that stage win in Granada followed by the overall, making it exactly 100 at the end of the week. Now, what’s next? Well, if I may dream, I’d chase another Vuelta a España, and of course, the World Championships. I’m the rider with the most podium finishes, yet I haven’t worn the rainbow bands yet. That’s something I’m still dreaming of.”
Valverde’s palmares includes 17 stage-race victories, including one Grand Tour — the 2009 Vuelta a España — and 21 one-day classics, with four wins at Flèche and three wins at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“It’s always been difficult to achieve victories throughout my career, but I’d say it’s even harder to do so right now, because the racing has become really much controlled by stronger teams. That’s why I can’t believe I’ve achieved 100 victories. It’s so hard, even more so nowadays. Being the only Spaniard to have got that far in the last 40 years also proves how difficult it is. I had already beaten the record of wins in Murcia, now in Andalucía — it really boosts my morale to keep chasing records, and I’ll continue for as long as my legs allow me to do so. For the moment, I plan on fulfilling my current contract – it’s already a long stretch until 2019 – and then we’ll see if I’m still so committed and motivated to carry on. I only want to think about the present right now. When the time comes, we will see if it’s worth to continue racing or rather stop.”