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Valverde says cycling should knock a week off grand tours

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Madrid (AFP)

Spain's Alejandro Valverde said on Monday cycling should shorten its three grand tours by a week to free up space in the new calendar drawn up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponed Tour de France has been rescheduled to start on August 29, with the sport's two other major races, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, due to follow before the end of the year.

But a number of one-day races are yet to be given dates and the International Cycling Union could struggle to fit them all in.

"What they should have done was cut each grand tour by one week," Movistar rider Valverde told Spanish journalists.

"It's an unprecedented year and it doesn't make sense to have all the grand tours raced over three weeks because then we'll go very long into the season."

"With 15 days of racing, that would be enough for the fans to enjoy it and so the races can survive," the 40-year-old added.

Valverde won his only grand tour in his native Spain in 2009, but in recent years has won a series of major one-day races including Liege-Bastogne-Liege twice and the 2018 world championship.

"It's normal that the Tour takes priority. They decided something else and we have to accept it but if it were up to me, I would have reduced the grand tours, and put some other races in between."

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