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Valverde prepares in Ardennes

Valverde

Valverde (Image credit: Shane Stokes)

Comments on Fuentes, Classics and Tour

By Monika Prell

Alejandro Valverde, sixth in the Amstel Gold race, spoke yesterday at a press conference in his team's hotel in Belgium. The Spaniard was questioned about the situation of cycling, above all about doping. "In the Vuelta al País Vasco were cyclists who went very well and others who went well, like in every race. There are always cyclists who win and other who lose," commented Valverde to Diario Vasco to the argument that the Vuelta al País Vasco was run at two different speeds.

Asked about the re-activity of Eufemiano Fuentes, Valverde stated that he does "not know if he is active or not." Regarding Operación Puerto, Valverde said, "I'm calm. I know that I don't have any problem, because if I had one, I would not have been able to ride in 2006."

Team Directeur Eusebio Unzué intervened. "Everything the Spaniards are doing is watched with a lens," he stated. "If you examine the results of all the races of 2007, you would detect that everybody is making a good showing, not only the Spanish cyclists. But when the Spaniards show a good performance, everybody thinks that Eufemiano Fuentes is behind it. You have to be fair to everybody."

The conference then focused on the Ardennes Classics. About his sixth place in the Amstel Gold Race, Valverde said to El Mundo Deportivo, "I was happy that I was in front fighting. Of course, it's not the same as a win, but even if you prepare yourself the best way, you have to understand that the Di Luca, Rebellin, are doing the same and that they are like me, keen to win."

In the Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège he is sure that he "will have the same rivals as in the Amstel, and even some more. The Flèche has changed its course. Tomorrow [today] I will inspect the two new ascents. For me, the two races equally as important, even if Liège is more prestigious because it's older. But I think that winning either of them is equally great."

He took time to comment on the Tour de France, now less than 80 days away. "What I want is to finish it and to arrive at Paris, fighting to be with the best." He thinks a win would be "difficult" because "I still lack experience to finish it, but Pereiro will be very useful for me because he knows it much better than I do and having him at my side will be calming. We will share the leadership."

Valverde, who today celebrates his 27th birthday, affirmed that his dream is "to win the Tour one day."

He believes that participating in the Spring Classics and then the Tour de France is possible, "because there are three months to adapt. If I ever think that I have to skip the Classics in order to win the Tour, I will do it without hesitation. One day I will compete in the Tour of Flanders, but never Paris–Roubaix; I will enjoy watching it on the television."

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