Alejandro Valverde rules out last throw of GC dice in final Vuelta a España

APRICA ITALY MAY 24 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte of Spain and Movistar Team competes during the 105th Giro dItalia 2022 Stage 16 a 202km stage from Sal to Aprica 1173m Giro WorldTour on May 24 2022 in Aprica Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Valverde heads to his final Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

It's almost over. 20 years after he started his first ever Vuelta a España and now well into his third decade as a professional rider, Alejandro Valverde will roll down the start ramp on Friday evening in his last Grand Tour.

There is a certain sense of closure, too, that the Vuelta will start in the Netherlands, as it was the starting point for the same race where the Movistar leader took his one and (to date) only Grand Tour victory. Add in a further six podium finishes (the most recent in 2019 and the earliest in 2003), as well as 12 stage wins, and if it's fair to say that if the Vuelta has all but defined Valverde as a stage racer, at times he has become emblematic of the Vuelta, too.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.