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Valverde: I can retire happy now

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Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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An emotional victory for Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

An emotional victory for Alejandro Valverde (Spain) (Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain) expresses genuine shock at winning the world title after being forced to lead out the sprint

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) expresses genuine shock at winning the world title after being forced to lead out the sprint (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Romain Bardet, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Woods on the podium

Romain Bardet, Alejandro Valverde and Michael Woods on the podium (Image credit: Getty Images)

New road race world champion Alejandro Valverde says that he's achieved everything he wants to achieve in cycling, and that any further achievements will be "a gift".

The Spaniard flew to Madrid to visit the headquarters of Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica, the parent company of his Movistar trade team sponsor, on Monday – the day after having won the rainbow jersey in the elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria – and was greeted by Spanish media and around a hundred fans at the airport.

"I can retire happy now," Valverde told Spanish newspaper Marca. "But I'll keep going until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."

Valverde, accompanied by Spanish national team selector Javier Mínguez, arrived at Madrid airport at 1pm, according to his Movistar team website, before being driven to the Telefónica HQ in Las Tablas in north Madrid.

The 38-year-old – who will have turned 40 by the time the Tokyo Olympics come around – then presented Telefónica CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete with a signed rainbow jersey over lunch, while another signed jersey was presented to the company's sports museum.

Valverde received a standing ovation from Telefónica employees, which reportedly lasted for over two minutes, before being whisked away to a reception at the Spanish Sports Council that afternoon, where he was congratulated by Spain's Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, José Guirao.