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Alejandro Valverde forced out of Giro d'Italia with injury

Movistar to rely on Landa and Carapaz for General Classification hopes as Valverde unable to recover from crash

Joe Robinson
3 May 2019

World Champion Alejandro Valverde has been forced out racing the Giro d'Italia through an injury sustained before last weekend's Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

In a press release, Movistar confirmed that the veteran rider suffered from swelling in the pelvis after crashing in a training ride in the run up to Liege and that it would not heal in time for the Giro, which starts a week on Saturday.

'The Movistar Team confirmed on Friday that Alejandro Valverde, one of its main references for the 102nd Giro d'Italia, which starts next Saturday in Bologna, will not be able to take the start of the first Grand Tour of the season,' read the press release.

'The Murcia native wasn't able to recover in time from bone edema in his sacrum after a crash in one of the training sessions prior to Liege-Bastogne-Liege, on Thursday 25th April.

'The World Champion will continue to recover, taking no risks, to find back his best form in the upcoming weeks and start building up for the second half of his 2019 season.'

This brings an abrupt end to a disappointing spring for the 39-year-old. 

While the season started well enough with a stage victory at the UAE Tour and top 10 finishes at Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, his performances at the Ardennes Classics were below par.

The Spaniard limped to 66th at Amstel Gold, his first result outside the top 50 in any race since 2017, before then finishing 11th at Fleche Wallonne, his first time off the podium since 2013. The latter result being put down to Valverde swallowing a bee in the finale of the race.

The Ardennes Classics then came to an abrupt end when the World Champion abandoned Liege-Bastogne-Liege, unable to ride through injury.

Valverde will now begin his recovery with eyes on the Vuelta a Espana and the defence of his World title, both in September. Skipping the Giro may also see Valverde race the Tour de France in aid of Nairo Quintana.

For Movistar, Valverde's Giro is a blow but not all hope is lost.

The Spanish WorldTour team will still be able to rely on Richard Carapaz, the Ecuadorian breakthrough of last year's race who managed to finish fourth and also win the summit finish to Montevergine di Mercogliano.

The team will also take Mikel Landa. The Basque rider has previously podiumed at the Giro, third in 2015, and has had a recent return to form that saw the 29-year-old finish seventh at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The 102nd Giro d'Italia starts next Saturday with a short 8.2km time trial in Bologna.