Valverde close to Balears deal
Monday, October 18, 2004 11.00pm
Could the battle of wits being played out between CV-Kelme and Illes Balears over the future of Alej
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Alejandro Valverde, currently cycling's most wanted man, has told Spanish sports daily AS that he is close to sealing a move to Illes Balears, and expects the deal to be finalised by the end of this week. Valverde admitted that his future destination is still "not totally clear", but added "I am much closer to Illes Balears. We are still talking and I believe that everything will be sorted out this week." The 24-year-old CV-Kelme star revealed that he is planning to sign a three-year deal with Illes Balears, one of four Spanish teams that has been given a provisional licence to enter next season's Pro Tour circuit. He admitted that he was happy with the deal proposed by his prospective new team, and that all that remains to be resolved are his terms for leaving CV-Kelme, who have been demanding payment in full of a two million euro rescission contract clause. "I think that Kelme are responding well. I have given everything for them and I hope that will be reciprocated," said Valverde, who added that he wanted to take one of his Murcia-based team-mates with him to Illes Balears, as well as a physio. Asked if it was important for him to stay in Spain, Valverde replied: "It is all the same really, because you still ride the same races, and you always train at home. But you are always drawn more to staying in your home country, and for that reason more than anything I want to stay." Valverde's 14 wins this season made him Spain's most successful rider, and he admitted racing almost right the way through from February to October had left him very tired. "But what I am really looking forward to is next season starting," he added quickly. But after last season's third place at the Vuelta and subsequent silver medal at the Worlds was there a touch of disappointment about this year? Valverde said not, commenting, "I think on balance it has been positive. I could not finish the Olympics because of dehydration, after my fall at the Vuelta the end result was very good, and a Spaniard won the world title and I did the work that was asked of me." * Alejandro Valverde is the cover star of this month's procycling. In the main feature in the November issue that is now on sale in the UK and North America procycling meets those closest to Valverde, who describe the attributes that have made the young Murcian the most coveted rider in the sport.
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