06/07/2018, CANYON CANYON RIDERS WHO WILL SHAPE THE TOUR DE FRANCE
Alejandro Valverde: The Veteran
Alejandro Valverde made his professional debut in 2002. Let that sink in for a second. 16 years down the line, he's still one of the most potent attacking forces in the pack. Age has not slowed him down, if anything, it's made him more successful. Valverde's wins aren't the result of brute force alone, but a tactical sixth sense to be in exactly the right place at precisely the right time. That is a skill born from experience. Valverde has experience alright.
The Spaniard's don-like status at Movistar Team means he goes into the 2018 Tour de France as a protected leader alongside Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa. What happens out on the road will determine the hierarchy for the rest of the race. Valverde's long history at the Tour de France peaked in 2015 when he achieved his life goal of making it onto the final podium in Paris with a third place finish. Approaching the twilight of a career that has truly seen it all, what will the 2018 edition hold in store for "Bala"?
To make it back to the top level is almost a victory in itself following the horror crash he suffered on the opening stage of last year's race on the slick Düsseldorf streets. The shattered knee cap he sustained may have broken some riders, but Valverde's hunger fuelled the full recovery, his journey back to winning ways was completed at the start of this season.
When it comes to pure racing, Valverde always delivers. Not one to sit back and defend a high ranking, you can guarantee Valverde will put his exceptional talents to good use throughout the race, whether for himself or in the service of his teammates. Movistar Team have a hand packed with aces to play in this year's race and the peloton will be eyeing them closely to see which they back. Whatever the outcome, Valverde will have a leading role.