VN news ticker: Valverde teases possibility of return to racing, Ewan targets Aussie national title

Here's the news making headlines on Saturday, January 7.

Photo: Movistar / CX Cycling

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Alejandro Valverde teases possibility of return to racing

Are Team Movistar and Alejandro Valverde trolling the cycling socialsphere?

The team posted a series of images of the freshly retired Spanish veteran sporting 2023 kit this week, including one shot framing the five-time Flèche Wallonne winner holding a bow-and-arrow shooting pose.

“Come on, one more and I’ll stop,” read the accompanying caption.

Was it a cryptic hint at a return to the “Walloon Arrow” that is La Flèche Wallonne?

Valverde looks lean and fit as ever as he heads into his first season of retirement. The 42-year-old now holds a staffing and mentoring role at the team he rode with all his career, and is reported to have been putting the hurt on riders two decades his junior at recent training camps.

Team Movistar ended its series of tweets with a popcorn-munching meme and the caption “don’t mind me, I’m just here for the comments.”

Make of that what you will …

Caleb Ewan seeking victory on home soil at Aussie nationals

Caleb Ewan is looking to start 2023 on the right note this weekend.

Ewan is hoping to score his first elite national title at the Australian road race championships Sunday, where he takes on the status of favorite alongside fellow fast-finisher Michael Matthews.

“For the first time since 2020, I’m able to race again in my home country, so I am really looking forward to it,” Ewan said. “My last participation in an Australian championship dates back to 2019 so it feels great to be competing for the national jersey again this year.”

Ewan will see two Lotto-Dstny teammates at his side on a startline likely to be dominated by the Jayco-AlUla WorldTour team, which is expected to be sending nine riders into the 185km road race.

“The course is pretty hard but if I am on a good day, I can compete for the win. I was already close with a second place [in 2015] and I conquered the U23 national jersey on the same course in 2014,” Ewan said.

“It’s hard to predict how the race will unfold. Team Jayco AlUla probably holds the key. They have a strong contingent of riders and will do everything to avoid a sprint. But with Harry Sweeny and Jarrad Drizners, I also have two strong teammates. We are ready to battle.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.