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Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde has celebrated his third place finish in the Tour of Spain by signing a new three-year deal with Movistar on Tuesday.
AFP/Kare Dehlie Thorstad
“I am very happy. It is what both parties wanted,” he said in a statement released by the team.
There had been some doubt over Valverde’s future at Movistar as his position as the team’s lead rider has been rivalled by Colombian Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana.
Indeed prior to Quintana’s retirement from the Tour of Spain due to two heavy crashes, team officials had refused to confirm who has their main man.
However, Valverde insisted he had no thoughts of breaking his nine-year association with Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzue
“In the end this is my family and we understand each other. I feel better than when I was 25. The seasons seem shorter every year and I handle things better,” added Valverde.
“Maturity brings calm and allows you to see everything differently.”
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) September 16, 2014
And Unzue is confident Valverde still has plenty to offer at the age of 34.
“He is an irreplaceable cyclist. There is no one capable of maintaining the concentration and willingness to win during the whole year.
“Although he has spent many years in the elite, the reality is he looks like he is in his twenties. He is a super rider.”
A winner of the Tour of Spain in 2009, former Tour de France winners Alberto Contador and Chris Froome proved too strong for Valverde this year round.
However, in the absence of Contador, he will lead Spain’s quest for victory on home soil at the world championships in Ponferrada later this month.