• Alejandro Valverde will ride the Tour de France for what may be his final time in 2016, but he won't be riding for a result. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Spanish star Alejandro Valverde will take on the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Tour of Flanders in 2016, but his team manager Eusebio Unzue says team-mate Nairo Quintana will be the undisputed leader in France.
Cycling Central

Cycling Central
18 Nov 2015 - 9:23 AM 

Valverde rode to a podium finish at this year's Tour de France, and in concert with Quintana posed a formidable challenge to Team Sky rider and eventual winner, Chris Froome. That partnership will continue in 2016 when July once more comes round, but with Valverde set to take on the Giro d'Italia with his sights on pink, it's his Colombian team-mate who will get the team's undivided support.

According to Unzue, who brought on Quintana from Colombia's Café de Colombia team in 2012, and has finely balanced the ambitions of his two stars in the time since, Valverde has been told his priority will be in Italy.

"[Unlike this year], for the Tour his only objective will be as a support rider for Nairo Quintana," Unzue told Cyclingnews. "He’s got his podium finish and we can’t partly build our race round that goal again when we’ve also got a rider like Nairo, who’s clearly got the opportunity of winning the Tour.

"It would be more a case of the Giro being a target for Alejandro then for him to ride as team support for Nairo in the Tour de France. It’s always good for Nairo to have someone like Alejandro backing him up there."

Riding in a support role at the Tour will leave Valverde with more in the tank for the Rio Olympic Games which the Spaniard still has an eye on to cap his career off. 

"You try to reach all of your goals as fresh as possible. But it’s also true that even if Valverde will have used up a lot of energy in the Tour, he won’t have had the same level of stress and sense of obligation that anybody has in a race when you are trying not to lose even one second each and every day. So he’ll try to be as fresh as possible in the Tour and then see what he can do in a really tough Olympic circuit."