Alejandro Valverde has confirmed that he will '100 per cent' retire after the 2022 season, bringing an end to a 21-year career.
The 42-year-old Movistar rider has delayed his retirement in recent years, but has now told Spanish radio show Sports Radiogaceta that his decision is final.
“2022 is going to be my last year. I say that with total conviction, 100 per cent,” Valverde said.
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"Even though my level is good at 42, it makes no sense to extend longer after 21 years in the business. What more do I want? My time has come."
Valverde's illustrious career began in 2002, and he won the 2009 Vuelta a Espana, La Fleche Wallonne five times and Liege-Bastogne-Liege on four occasions, with 130 professional wins overall.
He was banned from the sport in 2012 for his involvement in Operacion Puerto, but was successful on his return and won the world road race title in 2018.
He crashed out of this year's Vuelta and fractured his collarbone but recently returned to form with a stage win at the Giro di Sicilia.
He will sign off his career at the 2022 Vuelta, but has ruled out competing at one final Tour de France.
“I want to enjoy my last season as a pro," he said. "I don’t have my season sketched out yet, but a start at the Tour de France is already excluded.
I hope to race the Vuelta next year, and we will study the Giro route too. And then there’s the classics and all the races on the Spanish calendar.
"When I retire I have a contract for two more years in the Movistar team. I will try to help the team as much as I can, especially by coaching young riders, which is something I like a lot."
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