After his win in the World Championship road race, Alejandro Valverde gets his own road. Officials in his hometown of Murcia have decided to rename the Avenida de Alicante (N-340) and change it to Avenida Alejandro Valverde.
Valverde’s road intersects with the Avenida Miguel Indurain and is not far from the Avenida Ciclista Mariano Rojas. It should be noted that Rojas was not a world champion or Tour de France winner but he did ride the 1995 Tour, according to Wikipedia. He was born in Murcia and died tragically at age 23 in a car accident in his hometown in 1996.
Valverde now has a rainbow jersey, a shiny medal and a well-maintained and very busy highway in Murcia. Presumably he can drive as fast as he likes without fear of getting a speeding ticket — “It’s my road, officer, I can do what I want.”
Several other commemorative ideas for Valverde such as an Operacion Puerto Park were voted down by local officials. That said, there was some sentiment for renaming Calle Cervantes, a side street that runs parallel to Valverde’s road, after his dog Piti. Those with a long memory will recall that during Operacion Puerto, blood bags coded with the name Piti were alleged to belong to Valverde.
However, the Piti suggestion has been put on the back burner, perhaps forever. That’s along with the idea for a Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes Plaza in downtown Murcia. The doctor ran the Spanish doping operation where a number of riders such as Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich stored their blood.
Yes, there’s now an Avenida Alejandro Valverde but there ain’t no statue of former Kelme rider Jesus Marzano.