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Valverde abandons 2019 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

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Alejandro Valverde wrapped up at the start

Alejandro Valverde wrapped up at the start
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde wrapped up warm

Alejandro Valverde wrapped up warm
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lacked his usual spark on the Mur de Huy.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lacked his usual spark on the Mur de Huy.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
(Image credit: Bettini)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Four times Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has abandoned the race.

Valverde quit the race with around 100 kilometres to go, with TV images showing the Spanish star pulling over to the righthand side of the road and getting into a team car.

Valverde's abandon came after Deceuninck-QuickStep and Team Sky accelerated hard on a flatter section of the race before the ascent of the Cote de Mont-le-Soie and as rainy weather continued to lash the event, briefly splitting the race.

The reigning world champion has been a shadow of his former self in the Ardennes Classics this year, finishing well down on the leaders in Amstel Gold, finishing eleventh in Flèche Wallonne, in which he swallowed a bee. This is his first failure to finish in Liège-Bastogne-Liège since 2012 when he was disqualified after going off route by mistake.

Valverde is the second former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège to quit Sunday's race after Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) quit at the first feed.

More to come...