Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has opted to change his 2016 Spring Classics campaign and miss a number of Belgian one-day races in March and April, including the Tour of Flanders. The Spaniard will instead head to altitude to train.
Valverde finished 15th in Saturday’s Milan-San Remo and with the the Giro d’Italia his main focus during the first part of the season the rider, and his team, came to the conclusion to alter his racing schedule. The Giro starts on May 6 and Valverde, who made the podium in last year’s Tour de France, has never taken part in Italy’s Grand Tour.
Movistar are aiming to compete for the podium at the Giro with Valverde, while Nairo Quintana takes aim at the Tour de France. The Colombian was second in 2015 and it is expected that Valverde will ride in support of his teammate in July.
Valverde will still defend his 2015 titles in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and race the Vuelta a Castilla y León.
“Tirreno-Adriatico and the pace this race has given to Alejandro have made him look towards the Giro even more excited than he already was – and we all are as eager as him to do well there,” Eusebio Unzué, the Movistar manager said in a statement.
“That’s why we both agreed it was better to change his race program, so he tackles the first Grand Tour of the year with focus and calmness, with the best physical condition possible, yet not avoiding two races – Flèche and Liège-Bastogne-Liège – where we both have got great results during the last decade.”