Valverde and the Worlds. The favorite non-favorite.
It’s just a question but does anybody outside Spain want to see Alejandro Valverde win the World Championship road race on the home circuit in Ponferrada, Spain?
A little like asking if you you’re cheering for serial doper Alexandre Vinokourov to win a gold medal in the last Olympics road race. Hey, that was fun, huh — the grimace, the stomach turning?
Were you thrilled, did you smile the pure smile of sports joy safe in the knowledge that the unrepentant and combative Vino gave a final cynical middle finger to his critics before he crawled into retirement?
Did we slip in enough subtle innuendo and moral damnation into that last sentence? We were aiming for more but just couldn’t pull it off — kinda like Valverde’s attempt in the last Worlds.
Sometimes failure sends the right cosmic message.
The stories about Valverde and the Worlds road race all center on age 34, Valverde and his perhaps last shot at the title when he’s come so close. He’s had five podiums in the Worlds but never the win and we’re all for that.
Is poor old Jesus Marzano, the sacrificial lamb of Operacion Puerto, pulling for his buddy Valverde? Me thinks not.
Jesus, the whistleblower, not the biblical superstar, claimed Valverde used testosterone patches during the 2002 Vuelta a Espana.
A full 12 years later the so-called Green Syringe — sorry, Green Bullet — is still going strong with a third place in this year’s Spanish Grand Tour.
He’s on form, the hair regrowth product is working well, the Spanish fans love him, he’s a top favorite on a course suited to his attacking talents and fast finish.
Is this finally Valverde’s magic moment in the rainbow sun?
We sure as Hell hope not.