It was announced on Monday that the Avenida de Alicante - the main road running into the city from the northeast - will be renamed the Avenida Alejandro Valverde.
Whether by design or by chance, the newly named road will intersect with another piece of Spanish cycling history, the Avenida Miguel Indurain. While five-time Tour de France champion Indurain is not a Murcian native, Valverde is.
The 38-year-old won the world road race title in Innsbruck after 15 years of trying, beating Romain Bardet and Michael Woods to the win. It was the Spaniard's seventh visit to the podium at the World Championships but the first time that he was able to stand on the top step. In winning, Valverde also became the first Spaniard since Oscar Freire in 2004 to win the road race title.
He was given a rapturous welcome by fans upon on his return to the city earlier this month. He rode through the streets in an open-top car, with hundreds of people riding on their bikes behind him, before greeting fans from a balcony at the town hall.
Valverde made his first appearances in the rainbow jersey at the start of October with the Tre Valli Varesine, Milano-Torino and Il Lombardia. He finished third at Milano-Torino and told the press afterwards that he shouldn’t be asked about his involvement in Operación Puerto, saying that he had proved his credibility since. Valverde was one of several riders who was linked to disgraced doctor Eufemianio Fuentes and was subsequently handed a two-year ban.
Il Lombardia was Valverde's final race of the season, which ended 14 wins and saw Valverde top the world ranking, more than 1,000 points ahead of second-placed Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
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