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"During the last team meeting in Pamplona we talked about it again. It's still up in the air but I am moving more towards the Tour than towards the Giro," Valverde tells AS.com

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ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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17.12.2013 @ 18:10 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Movistar team still hasn't decided how to distribute the captaincy roles at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France between Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. However, Valverde reveals that he is moving towards a participation in the French grand tour and confirms that he will be at the start line in the Vuelta a Espana.

 

Only a select few teams are able to line up genuine winner candidates in all three grand tours. Movistar is member of that exclusive group as it has both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde in its ranks and both riders finished on a grand tour podium in 2013.

 

However, those opportunities also create problems as it may not be easy to decide which race is best suited to the two star riders. The courses were confirmed more than two months ago but the team still hasn't made a final decision about its grand tour captaincy duties.

 

After the team's recent training camp, manager Eusebio Unzue stated that he was in favour of sending Quintana to the Giro, with the Italian grand tour being a good stepping stone for the young Colombian. Such a decision would see Valverde return to the Tour while the pair could ride together at the Vuelta at the end of the season.

 

Interviewed by AS.com, Valverde admits that he shares Unzue's views.

 

"During the last team meeting in Pamplona we talked about it again," he said. "It's still up in the air but I am moving more towards the Tour than towards the Giro."

 

If Valverde does the Tour, it will allow him to make amends for the big disappointment of 2013. The Spaniard was riding better than ever and was poised for a podium finish when a mechanical on the windy stage to Saint-Armand-Montrond saw him lose all hopes of a top 3 result. He refused to give up and ended 8th in the race but lost what was probably his best chance of a podium spot ever.

 

While Valverde is still undecided about the Giro and the Tour, one thing is sure. If his health allows it, he will be at the start line when the Vuelta a Espana kicks off in August. After abandoning the race in 2002, Valverde has never finished outside the top 5 in his home race, won the event in 2009 and was 3rd this year.

 

"If I don't have any problems I am going to ride the Vuelta," he said. "I like riding there and always do well."

 

In 2013 Valverde only won three minor races - all in February - but he was one of the most consistent riders of the season. In addition to his grand tour exploits, he was 2nd in the Amstel Gold Race, the Clasica San Sebastian and Il Lombardia and was 3rd at the World Championships and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

 

"I had a good year," he said. "It was very consistent and I finished on the podium in all the races I targeted. And I had options to win them all."

 

Valverde is now 33 years old but didn't ride for more than 18 months when he served a two-year suspension for his involvement in the Operacion Puerto. The Spaniard feels that he is still improving.

 

"I feel better every year," Valverde said. "Every season I get older but I feel more mature and ride well."

 

One win that has so far eluded Valverde is the World Championships. With two silver and three bronze medals, he has been hugely consistent in the battle for the rainbow jersey but still hasn't stepped onto the top step of the podium.

 

In 2014, the race will be held at a hilly course in Ponferrada in his home country but he refuses to be too focussed on the prestigious jersey.

 

"If I win it, that's fine but I am not obsessing anymore," he said. "I am the only rider with five World Championship medals. Of course I want the win the gold medal but without getting obsessed about it."

 

Valverde is likely to start his season at the Challenge Mallorca.

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