• Alejandro Valverde has announced a tentative date for his retirement from professional cycling (Getty)Source: Getty
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) has set a tentative date for the end of his professional cycling career, with the current world champion set to continue until the end of the 2021 season at the age of 41.
SBS Cycling Central

30 Mar 2019 - 9:26 AM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2019 - 9:30 AM

"In principle, in 2021, I will retire, some year it had to come. I will do another season after the Olympic Games in Tokyo," Valverde told local newspaper El Periodico during the Volta a Catalunya. "I think that would be enough.

"At some point I have to stay home and enjoy being with my family.

Valverde is yet to decide on his future after riding as a professional, but inidcated it was likely that he would stay within the sport he has spent the majority of his life as a major name.

"I'll see what I do, if I end up working with my young team of riders that I'm helping to organise back home in Murcia or if I continue working with Eusebio Unzue's team [Movistar]."

The 38-year-old hasn't showed many signs that he is slowing down. His 2019 season has started off a bit slower than previous years (he currently only has one win to his name as opposed to eight at this stage last year), but Valverde is still right up the pointy end of bike races.

After serving a doping suspension that ruled out his 2010 results and saw him also miss the 2011 season, Valverde has been as strong as ever, even as he has gotten past the age that most riders begin to regress. Valverde was asked if he had noticed any drop-off in his performances.

"Well, no. Not much less," said Valverde. "The only difference is that this year, instead of victories, I'm achieving second places. But if I was not in good shape I could not be fighting for the victories. 

"I can not deny that behind it comes a generation that squeezes a lot. I maintain the illusion, and it is not only because of age, but because of the time I have been at the highest level, which is the most difficult. Being from 23 to 39 years old at the highest level is very complicated."

With a 2020 Olympics road race course that should suit the talented Spaniard's abilities, there exists plenty of opportunity for Valverde to improve upon his already imposing record.