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Valverde crashed in training three days before Liege-Bastogne-Liege

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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the 2019 Fleche Wallonne.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at the 2019 Fleche Wallonne. (Image credit: Bettini)
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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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World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) (Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
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Alejandro Valverde wrapped up warm

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

The sight of four-times Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) climbing in the team car with 100 kilometres to go confirmed that the Spanish all-rounder was having the roughest day of the Ardennes Classics.

Already after a difficult Amstel Gold Race and being put off his pace at Flèche Wallonne when he swallowed a bee in the final 50 kilometres, Valverde then had a training crash, Movistar boss Eusebio Unzue told Cyclingnews.

The world champion fell heavily, hurting his tailbone, and despite giving his best at Liège, was forced to abandon mid-race through the race.

"There just came a point when it was too much," Unzue told Cyclingnews. "He tried his best but could not continue."

Unzue said Valverde "had had a crash and fell whilst training three days ago, and his coccyx took the worst of the impact. Every day he was getting better, and he started out today feeling very optimistic, hoping he could get through.

"But on top of that, with the weather conditions being so bad and after four hours of hard racing, it started to get too bad.

"On Monday or Tuesday he'll have an X-ray just to be rule out there's nothing too serious and we'll take it from there. But we don't think it's too bad, and a few days of rest he should be fine for the Giro. We don't think there'll be any problems."

On the plus side for Movistar, Landa finished Liège in seventh place, a result which confirmed that the Spanish team's Giro leader is on track for the Italian Grand Tour.

"That's been good, and it's important for his morale after a difficult early season. Unfortunately, because of the crash he had in Mallorca, he's barely raced. And so, to go so well here and be up there with the best on the eve of the Giro - that's a reason to be satisfied."

Landa will do one more race, the Vuelta a Asturias, before going to the Giro d'Italia, whilst Valverde will head straight to Bolonia next week.

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.