Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has admitted that he is unlikely to finish the 2020 Tour de France as he will use La Grande Boucle as preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. The road race in Tokyo is on Saturday, July 25, just six days after the Tour concludes on the Champs-Élysées, and Valverde has confirmed to Marca that he is not planning to make it to Paris.
"Yes, that's the idea," Valverde told Marca. "Those who understand recognise that it is very hard to be at 100 percent for the Games if you compete at your maximum up to the final day in France.
"For that reason, barring surprises, that's the plan and I think it's the best decision. The same goes for the Vuelta. We'll come back from Japan with a lot of fatigue and we'll need some time to adapt. I probably won't go there in my best form, but it will be useful to prepare for the Worlds."
There was previously a six-day gap between the Tour and the Olympics in 2012, but the short trip to London meant that most medal hopefuls – including Valverde and eventual champion Alexandre Vinokourov – completed the Tour.
In 2016, when there were two weeks between the Tour and the Olympics, Valverde placed 6th overall at the Tour before finishing 30th in Rio de Janeiro.
Valverde, who turns 40 in April, finally won the World Championships in Innsbruck 2018 after placing on the podium on six previous occasions. Although this year’s mountainous Worlds in Switzerland appears well-tailored to his talents, he declared the Tokyo Olympics to be the centrepiece of his 2020 campaign.
"Yes, it will be the priority objective, though there will be others," Valverde said. "I want to get to Tokyo as well as possible. The World Championships will also be an important event, but for now, I am focused on the Games. It is like the great challenge that I'm missing, and it makes me very excited."
Valverde will start his season at the Mallorca Challenge at the end of this month. "It's almost the usual calendar," he said. "I will start more calmly to avoid pushing myself too much and reach the key moments in better shape."