Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is set to ride both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España this season. According to a report in the Spanish sports daily Marca, the world champion will return to racing at the Route d’Occitanie on June 20.
Valverde was due to ride the Giro d’Italia this May, which would have been just his second appearance after making his debut in 2016, but was forced to miss it due to injury.
The Movistar rider crashed during a training ride in the build-up to Liège-Bastogne-Liège at the end of April and suffered a bone edema - a build-up of fluid in the bone marrow - in his sacrum as a result. Valverde was unaware of the injury and would go onto ride the monument but eventually abandoned the race, the first time he has done so in his career.
Following further checks, the team decided to pull him from the Giro d’Italia to give him time to recover from his injuries. It was the latest in a series of unfortunate incidents for Valverde, who also swallowed a bee during La Flèche Wallonne.
Valverde has been out of action since his early departure from Liège and the report on the Marca website states that Valverde’s comeback will be at the four-day Route d’Occitanie, which takes place between June 20 and 23. Valverde rode the race - formerly known as the Route du Sud - last season as part of his preparation for the Tour de France, winning one stage and taking the overall title.
Following the Route d’Occitanie, Valderde will ride the national championships in his home region of Murcia, where he’ll be hoping to win the national road race title for the third time in his career. After the Vuelta a España in August and September, Valverde is also due to defend his rainbow jersey at the World Championships in Yorkshire.
Over the last week, Valverde has been staying in Granada and training in the Sierra Nevada.
As well as outlining Valverde’s forthcoming races, the report also states that Nairo Quintana is likely to line up at the Critérium du Dauphiné as his preparation for the Tour de France.