- Place: Las Lumbreras, Murcia
- Birth: 25/04/1980
- Country: ESP
- Height: 177 Cm
- Weight: 61 Kg
- Pro debut: 2002
- Years in team: 13
- Career path:
2005-2018: Illes / Caisse / Movistar Team
2005-2018: Illes / Caisse / Movistar Team
FROM AN INJURY, TO A RAINBOW DREAM. Seven months after his brutal crash in Düsseldorf, and following long months of recovery, Valverde was able to win again when many had called his career over. Albuixech (Valencia) –with only five days of racing in his legs- was the place he chose to raise his arms victorious again, a victory which portended yet another unforgettable season for him. His class and commitment have earned him accolades from the biggest names in the sport, from current rivals like Peter Sagan -“There won’t be any other one like him”- to legends such as Eddy Merckx, who also rooted for his success in Innsbruck. ‘Bala’ has finally achieved what he had deserved for so long: becoming World Champion.
122 WINS – 14 IN 2018. Even through this season will go into the history books due to his gold medal in the Worlds, one can’t forget about his achievements at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the Abu Dhabi Tour, the Volta a Catalunya, the GP Miguel Indurain, the Route d’Occitanie and his two stage wins in the Vuelta a España –where he contested the overall success until the penultimate mountain stage-. Valverde, who already raised his arms with the rainbow jersey at the unofficial Saitama Criterium -ahead of reigning Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas-, will not settle with his current palmarès, and has already set his sights on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
UCI WORLD RANKING NO. 1 + VÉLO D’OR. Avenues and schools with his name, plenty of tributes and celebrations at home and abroad… the passion for the #BalaArcoíris has gone well outside the Spanish borders. Alejandro has always been a man subject to festivities honouring his legend, but the truth is that, after winning the World Championships, it has basically become one half of his daily routine, combined with his training. Only after the Worlds, he was recognised by the UCI as leader of the 2018 World Ranking, then received the Vélo d’Or prize as best rider of the season. Miguel Indurain and Alberto Contador were the only two Spanish riders to have also received that prize before Alejandro. Undoubtedly, 2018 has made justice with Alejandro’s efforts.
His biggest passion remains his family, who joins him at the finish of many races. His wife is Natalia; his four kids are called Iván, Alex (twins), Pablo and the youngest one, Natalia. A man loyal to his roots, he’s been born, raised and lives in Murcia (Las Lumbreras), and admits that, even if people around the world tries to make him comfortable wherever he goes, he wouldn’t feel as good in any other place rather than home.
His rivals’ parents when he was a young child called him ‘El Imbatido’ (‘The Unbeaten One’) because of his voracious character on the bike. He started racing at age 9, and from 11 to 14 years old he snatched 50 consecutive victories. The nickname he likes the most is a word game with his last name: ‘Balaverde’.
His endless palmarès doesn’t include the day he enjoyed the most on a bike. He always recalls his first Worlds appearance, in Hamilton (Canada), where he took silver behind compatriot Igor Astarloa. “It was really the achievement I hold dearest because of everything around that race”, he remembers.
Lo ha sido todo en La Vuelta. La ganó en 2009; ha vestido todos sus maillots de líder; tiene nueve triunfos de etapa, con una década de separación entre el primero y el último; y en sus carreteras ha disfrutado y hecho feliz a muchos aficionados. Sus doce presencias en la carrera han sido pura expresión del amor que siente por la bici y por una carrera a la que guarda siempre un cariño especial.
Será una carrera distinta para el ‘Bala’, plenamente enfocado en preparar un Mundial de Innsbruck en el que el murciano tiene puestas muchas de sus esperanzas para redondear un palmarés de leyenda. Sin presión de ningún tipo tras sus 11 victorias en la primavera, Alejandro gozará de muchas oportunidades para el lucimiento personal y la preparación de una cita austríaca adecuada para los escaladores, si es que el propio desarrollo de la Vuelta no le ubica en pos de objetivos mayores.
Calendario previo (56 días de competición) > Challenge Mallorca (40º + 3º + 4º); Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (1º + 2 etapas); Vuelta a Murcia (2º); Abu Dhabi Tour (1º + 1 etapa); Volta a Catalunya (1º + 2 etapas); A Través de Flandes (11º); GP Miguel Indurain (1º); Amorebieta (2º); Ardenas (5º + 2º + 13º); Route d’Occitanie (1º + 1 etapa); Campeonatos de España (4º + 2º); Tour de Francia (14º).
Apariciones anteriores en la Vuelta > 2016: 12º. 2015: 7º + 1 etapa. 2014: 3º + 1 etapa. 2013: 3º. 2012: 2º + 2 etapas. 2009: 1º. 2008: 5º + 1 etapa. 2006: 2º + 1 etapa. 2004: 4º + 1 etapa. 2003: 3º + 2 etapas.