Valverde's Giro d'Italia participation in doubt after training crash

Alejandro Valverde's participation in the Giro d'Italia is in doubt as a result of the training crash that ultimately forced him to abandon Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. Scans taken in Murcia on Monday revealed that the world champion had sustained a bone edema in the sacrum.

"Alejandro Valverde underwent scans in Murcia on Monday to examine the area damaged by his crash during a training ride last Thursday, prior to Liège-Bastogne-Liège," read a statement from his Movistar team on Tuesday.

"The checkups confirmed bone edema in his sacrum. Giro appearance depends on his recovery evolution."

Valverde has had a relatively subdued spring in the rainbow jersey of world champion, with just one victory to his name to date, a stage of the UAE Tour in February. He caught the eye with 8th place in his Tour of Flanders debut, but endured a trying Ardennes campaign.

After placing an anonymous 66th at Amstel Gold Race, he could only manage 11th at Flèche Wallonne. It was his worst placing on the Mur de Huy since 2012, his first season back in the peloton following his two-year suspension for blood doping.

Valverde revealed later that he had swallowed a bee during Flèche Wallonne and he endured further misfortune when he crashed in training the following day. He began Liège-Bastogne-Liège aiming to equal Eddy Merckx's record of five victories at La Doyenne, but he abandoned the race with 100km to go.

After focusing on the Tour de France in each of the past two seasons, Valverde is due to return to the Giro d'Italia this year, though his participation is now shrouded in uncertainty. The Spaniard placed third overall on his first and only Giro appearance in 2016.

Movistar's Giro roster also includes Mikel Landa, who finished third overall in 2015, and Richard Carapaz, who took 4th overall in 2018 as well as the white jersey of best young rider. Nairo Quintana is slated to lead the team at the Tour de France.

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