Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has insisted that he may yet return to racing at Milan-San Remo after a spell of illness in the latter part of the UAE Tour caused part of his spring race programme to be abandoned.
Valverde had scratched a possible start in Strade Bianche after going down with a cold and slight fever during the UAE Tour, which he nonetheless finished second overall in and won the toughest mountain stage.
His chances of racing Milan-San Remo, the first Monument of the season, were widely reported to be non-existent.
But a spell of rest and recuperation at home in Murcia, Spain has gone well and Valverde told Eurosport on Thursday that he is now eying a possible start in La Primavera, where his best performance to date has been 15th.
"I had a bit of a cold and fever and didn't want to push myself too hard because it had been quite an intense start to the season," Valverde told Eurosport on Thursday.
"My idea is to build up through the spring and be in top form for the Giro d'Italia."
"in principal, I'm coming back to racing in the Volta a Catalunya" - which starts on March 25th - "but we're still thinking about San Remo."
"We'll take a decision about San Remo early next week, I'm very keen to do it, but it's not yet definite."
Valverde confirmed that the rest of his spring programme will include the Volta a Catalunya, where he is a double defending champion, then his long-awaited debut in the Flanders, as well as a return to Dwars Door Vlaanderen, which he has ridden twice, taking eleventh last season.
Then Valverde will go on to do his usual spring Ardennes Campaign of Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. His two Grand Tours this year will be the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, a combination which Valverde has never done previously, given his first ever Giro participation was when he claimed a podium finish and stage win in 2016, before taking sixth in that year's Tour de France. A return to the World Championships in Yorkshire, England this September to defend his title is also, unsurprisingly, on the programme.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 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. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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