After a couple of seasons in which he has prioritised the general classification in Grand Tours, Alejandro Valverde will revert back to his old way of doing things, hoping to land a one-day race he's never won before.
Though working for teammate Nairo Quintana, the Spaniard was determined to achieve the best result possible at the 2015 Tour de France, and was rewarded with a spot on the podium. This year he decided to ride all three Grand Tours, finishing third at the Giro d'Italia – the one he was really focused on from a GC perspective.
"The idea is to return to what I was doing before, with the Classics and then the Tour and Vuelta," said Valverde as the Movistar team gathered for an off-season camp and press conference on Friday.
"In my case, I'm looking to win the most important Classics and win where I've never won before, like Amstel or Lombardia."
Valverde, a four-time winner of La Flèche-Wallonne and three-time winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, has ridden the past four editions of Lombardia and finished sixth, fourth, second, and second. He didn’t ride Amstel this year, but in the previous three editions he was second, fourth, and second.
Another one-day race where he's put together a string of near misses is the World Championships road race. He has been on the podium no fewer than six times – four bronze medals and two silver – but has never worn the rainbow bands.
"And then there's the Worlds – it seems like it will be a more demanding Worlds next year," he said of the Bergen course, which features laps of a circuit that features a punchy climb. "I want to see if I can be up there and take the victory."
There was a fair amount of excitement surrounding Valverde this spring after he declared he'd be riding the Tour of Flanders for the first time in his career. He had to skip the Belgian Monument, however, in order to focus squarely on the Giro d'Italia the following month.
Though he did not say whether he'll be making a debut at De Ronde next year – noting that at this stage in the off-season "everything is up in the air" – he did confirm his intention to do it before he hangs up his wheels.
"We've nearly gone there in various years but for one reason or another I've never done it," said the 36-year-old, who recently extended his contract with Movistar through to the end of 2019.
"This year, we’ll see. At the moment the idea is to focus on what suits us and Flanders, yes, it's a beautiful race, I don't want to retire never having done it. So it could be next year, or the following year, or the one after that. One year I'll do it."
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