Alejandro Valverde notched up a century of wins this past weekend at the Vuelta a Andalucía and he joined Tom Boonen, Mark Cavendish and André Greipel in a select group of active riders who have notched up 100 career victories but he’s the only rider in that group to have won a Grand Tour.
After achieving his 100th career victory, the 36-year-old Movistar rider has reflected on feelings after becoming only the second Spaniard to reach the milestone.
“It’s clearly been a special win. Not only because of the milestone, but also due to the way it unfolded, the rivals against whom I claimed it, and how hard the team worked to make it easier for me,” Valverde said.
“To be honest, I didn’t start thinking about victory number 100 until I won in Murcia last week. There, I realized that it was only left two for hundred, and I knew that I’d be in great form for Andalucía, with two or three stages that suited my conditions. In the end, it all went as if we had planned, with that stage win in Granada followed by the overall, making it exactly 100 at the end of the week. Now, what’s next? Well, if I may dream, I’d chase another Vuelta a España, and of course, the World Championships. I’m the rider with the most podium finishes, yet I haven’t worn the rainbow bands yet. That’s something I’m still dreaming of.”
His career encompasses 17 stage race wins, 21 single-day classics, 62 stage wins, six world championship medals, podium finishes in all three Grand Tours and UCI WorldTour end of season leader on four occasions.
“It’s always been difficult to achieve victories throughout my career, but I’d say it’s even harder to do so right now, because the racing has become really much controlled by stronger teams. That’s why I can’t believe I’ve achieved 100 victories. It’s so hard, even more so nowadays. Being the only Spaniard to have got that far in the last 40 years also proves how difficult it is. I had already beaten the record of wins in Murcia, now in Andalucía — it really boosts my morale to keep chasing records, and I’ll continue for as long as my legs allow me to do so. For the moment, I plan on fulfilling my current contract – it’s already a long stretch until 2019 – and then we’ll see if I’m still so committed and motivated to carry on. I only want to think about the present right now. When the time comes, we will see if it’s worth to continue racing or rather stop.”