Valverde skips Tour of Flanders

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has ruled out racing this weekend’s Tour of Flanders. Speaking with Spanish radio programme El Larguero, Valverde confirmed that he will stick to his original plan of racing the one-day Grand Prix Miguel Indurain on Saturday.

“We have been evaluating it, and in the end, I won’t race the Tour of Flanders,” he told the radio programme. “We will go to Spain and on Saturday I will be in the Grand Prix Miguel Indurain. [Flanders] is a really important, beautiful race, but we decided to return home and it wasn’t to be.

“I would like to race, but I have taken a lot from my body with continuous, really hard, racing. Indurain is a hard race, but not like Sunday.”

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Valverde was in Belgium this week, with teammate Nairo Quintana, to ride Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen as a test of the cobbles ahead of the Tour de France’s cobbled test in July. In an interview with Belgian broadcaster Sporza, the Spaniard suggested that he might extend his stay in the country to incorporate its biggest race. While the weather appears to have played a factor in Valverde’s decision not to remain, he held his own against many of the top Classics stars.

The Movistar rider remained in the lead group for the vast majority of the race, putting forward several of his own attacks in the process. He was unable to follow when Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac) made the decisive split but came across the line in the second group to claim 11th place.

“I am tired and still cold,” he said a long while after the race had reached its conclusion. “They were 180 kilometres where it was raining all the time and two or three degrees, and we had a really hard race due to the weather. The weather was worse than the cobbles.

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