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The 42-year-old defined his future role with Spain’s lone WorldTour team, telling the Spanish daily AS he will act a liaison between riders and staff for the 2023 season.
“My principal role will be to see that there’s more communication between the directors, coaches, and the rider,” Valverde told AS. “I will be in the car at some races. For example, the idea is to be at such races as the Giro, Tour and Vuelta, but not for the entire races. Five or six days, something like that. They will keep seeing me at the races.”
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Valverde won’t work in a traditional sports director’s role, but rather serve as a bridge between the team’s different management groups and as well as a mentor for the team’s riders.
Valverde, whose sometimes controversial 21-year career ended at Il Lombardia in October, recently competed at the Asian critériums organized by the Tour de France organization in Saitama and Singapore.
Valverde admitted that it will “feel strange” to go into 2023 without having the pressure and excitement of racing, and revealed that he still sat at the rider’s table during a recent team camp in Spain.
“Even though I’ve raced all these years, I still don’t fully realize what’s coming for me now,” Valverde said. “It will be strange when the season starts, that’s for sure, but I will remain a part of the cycling world.”
Valverde hints he might explore the gravel scene
The 42-year-old also hinted he might dip his toes into gravel racing and vowed that he will keep training to stay fit.
“I will join the team on the altitude training camps, maybe not for the whole time and certainly not with the idea of racing,” he said. “I’d like to race some gravel races and things like that, even though I still haven’t really checked it out.
“It’s more to have some sort of sporting objective and to have some fun, which for me is the same thing,” he told AS. “It might be without the same intensity or discipline, but my morning training rides will remain in place.”