Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

Valverde, a happy debutante of almost 39 years in the Tour of Flanders

Valverde, a happy debutante of almost 39 years in the Tour of Flanders

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He is closer to the 40 than the 30-complies 39 the next day 25-and hurries the last years of his career, but Alejandro Valverde has the illusion of a debutante, the illusion of the premiere in the stones of Flanders (Eurosport , from 10:15 h.). It was an objective that had already been marked last year, but it left at the last moment. In his head was running once the Tour of Flanders, fight with the cobblestones, lie down to the roadside and enjoy the mud, although it is not the most appropriate race for his fibrous body.It is not matter of centimeters, Alejandro reaches the 1.77 and there are several runners of their size who have won the Tour of Flanders. It's a matter of bodywork. The body of Valverde is ready to resist on the mountain and sprint later, for the Ardennes classics and for the challenges of being ahead in the big laps. But not for cobblestone breaks in cobblestone as you will have to do today. «That's the challenge. It's not what's best about the role, but with so much desire and so much class ... ", confesses Mikel Zabala, Movistar team coach. The preparation has not changed much, although it has delayed a little bit its first peak of form to arrive at fullness at the Giro. On those dates other years it is customary to be on vacation. «I think the calendar does not change excessively. All previous races have been very similar. The biggest difference compared to other years is that I run Flanders and, later, that I do not run the Tour, "admits Valverde, who aspires to become the oldest winner of the Tour of Flanders. Now it is the Russian nationalized Belgian Andrei Tchmil, with 37, in the year 2000. «With Alejandro we always prepare the classic ones, but this time it is more the desire that he has. That's the best preparation, "adds Zabala. «He has prepared it with care, like almost everything he does, but it is complicated. Eddy Merckx, for example, said that the one that had cost him more to win was Flanders ». Alejandro was already tested last year in the previous race, the Through Flanders, with a sensational eleventh place. On Wednesday he repeated with a discreet trigesimoprimero, but endured in the main group almost to the last meters, when victory was impossible and only 24 seconds of the winner, Mathieu van der Poel, Adrie's son and grandson of the legendary Raymond Poulidor. "It's a good time to do the Vuelta a Flandes. They are many years without being here and I think that this year, with the world champion jersey, it was a good time to debut. With the rainbow it gives a lot more taste », says Valverde before its premiere. "But there is a 90 percent chance that I will not win," he admits.


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