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Valverde makes 2020 Olympics centrepiece of his season

The 2020 Movistar team presented its new colours in Madrid
The 2020 Movistar team presented its new colours in Madrid (Image credit: Photo Gomez Sport)

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics his principal objective for the coming season. The former world champion has already confirmed that he will ride the Tour de France next year, though primarily as preparation for the Olympic road race, which takes place just six days after the Tour concludes in Paris.

“The objective is to do well in the Classics, do a good Vuelta a España and Worlds, but above all, being an Olympic year, I want to be at 100 percent at the Games,” Valverde said at Movistar’s team presentation on Thursday, according to AS.

Valverde has competed in every Olympic Games since Athens in 2004, with his best finish coming in Beijing four years later, when he placed 12th in a race won by his compatriot Samuel Sanchez. He will be 40 years old when the 2020 Olympic road race takes place on July 25.

2020 marks a year of considerable change for Movistar following the departures of Nairo Quintana to Arkéa-Samsic and Mikel Landa to Bahrain-McLaren. Enric Mas, second at the 2018 Vuelta, has been signed to lead Movistar’s GC challenge at the Tour de France, while 2018 Paris-Nice winner Marc Soler will also be expected to step up to the plate in three-week races.

"Marc has to make the leap and has shown that he can do it,” Valverde said. “Enric has already demonstrated it at the Vuelta, although he still has to make another leap, because now he will also have a team around him for the Tour.

“It is a year of many changes, between the material and the teammates, and we have a lot of young riders. It will be a nice year, one of learning, but we will certainly also do well.”

In the past two seasons, Valverde went to the Tour with Quintana and Landa, though the vaunted Movistar ‘trident’ never added up to the sum of its parts. In 2019, the trio placed 9th, 7th and 6th, respectively, in the overall standings.

“Good vibes are important, and when there is union, that’s a strength,” Valverde said. “If we get along well off the bike, the results will be visible.”