Alejandro Valverde currently sits in seventh place overall in the Tour de France. The Movistar captain spoke to inCycle about the significance of the event, his racing before and after his doping suspension and his take on this year’s Tour.
"The Tour de France is the race that scares the most. Being scared makes you feel more pressure and somehow that leads to mistakes and bad luck. You have the respect the Tour. I started with respect for the race but am not scared. I hope I have some good luck and be up at the front. I think I can be top three."
Valverde won the Vuelta in 2009. From the 1st of January 2010 he was suspended for two years for his role in Operación Puerto. Since his return the Spaniard has won many races and he was on the podium of the Vuelta twice.
"I believe I have not returned to the level I had before my suspension. I have actually surpassed it and reached a higher level. Every race I can be competitive and I start with greater motivation."
Movistar already have won one of the Grand Tours with Nairo Quintana in the Giro d’Italia. This takes the pressure of Valverde.
"His win gives us extra motivation. We don’t have the pressure this year to do something because we haven’t done anything yet. This will help us get better results."
At 34 years old Valverde is not getting any younger. With his teammate Quintana second in last year’s Tour and ready to take on the Tour next year again, this year’s event may be the Spaniard’s last chance.
"I enjoy cycling and I am not thinking of retiring. I love what I do and do it with lots of enthusiasm. This year’s Tour is not the last chance but it’s a good opportunity for me. My team, the route with the Alps first and then the Pyrenees, and only one time trial will allow me to have a good year. With some luck I hope to do well."
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