Coronavirus: Alejandro Valverde increasingly doubtful World Tour will race again in 2020

Alejandro Valverde is not convinced there will be any more road racing in 2020 and admits that could affect his retirement plans.

Former world champion Valverde, who will turn 40 before the end of April, had been looking to call time on his career at the end of 2021 but is now considering pushing that date back a year.

Valverde is keen to take in one more Olympic Games, with the Tokyo event having been pushed back until next summer, but he feels there are too many doubts over the longer-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic to allow racing to return as soon as the UCI is planning.

A revamped schedule was announced last week with the Tour de France moved back to start at the end of August, to be followed by the World Championships in Switzerland, the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, both of which may have to be shortened from their regular three-week length.

Valverde said: “Let’s see how it all evolves. There’s still a long time until the summer. It’s important that the Tour goes ahead, but seeing how things are going – not well at all – I don’t know what will happen.

“It’s all very complicated. We want to have sport back but, being realistic, I highly doubt that we’ll be able to race this year.

“At the start of the lockdown, I didn’t entertain the idea of losing this year but, seeing how things are going, I’m thinking it more and more.”

Valverde, winner of the world road race crown in 2018 in Innsbruck, is under contract to Movistar until the end of next season and has the Olympics as one of his major goals – an event in which he is yet to taste any kind of success.

Next year’s road race course, which includes climbing a section of Mount Fuji, would appear suitable for a rider with so much success in tough one-day races like Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Fleche Wallonne and Clasica de San Sebastien, which he has won on 11 occasions combined.

“We’ll see. The truth is that all this has been a drastic change, and you have to look at all sides of the equation,” the reigning Spanish champion added.

“It’s possible that I’ll push back my retirement, but I’m going to see how this all unfolds and then I’ll make a call.”

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