Happy birthday: Alejandro Valverde

On Alejandro’s birthday last year we looked into whether or not he’d had hair plugs and we  – correctly – concluded that he hadn’t. However, 2012 was a pretty stellar year for him after his return from suspension: he got married, won a stage in the Tour de France, delighted us with a three-way joust with fellow Spaniards in the Vuelta – where he finished runner-up, took a bronze in the World Championships in Valkenburg and won frequently on home soil.

Here’s Alejandro winning stage 17 of the Tour de France in Peyragudes, which was over-shadowed by the ‘did he, or didn’t he’ between Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

Alejandro wins in France on stage 17 (image: Movistar)

Alejandro wins in France on stage 17 (Image: Movistar)

Alejandro fared rather better in his home Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, where he won three stages, wore all the jerseys, finished runner-up and took home the points jersey. However, one can’t help but wonder what the outcome might have been if Alejandro hadn’t lost time in the stage one crash.

The Spanish Amarda (image: Movistar)

The Spanish Armada: Valverde, Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez (Image: Movistar)

At the end of September at the World Championships in Valkenburg, Alejandro won a bronze medal marred somewhat by the ‘should he, or shouldn’t he’ have waited for team leader and former three-time World Champion, Oscar Freire.

Winner of the bronze (image: Movistar)

Winner of the bronze at the World Championships (Image: Movistar)

Alejandro has ridden his whole career for the same team, which has gone through numerous iterations and is now sponsored by the Navarran mobile telephone operator Movistar, until the end of 2014.

Alejandro got his 2013 season off to a great start with a win in Mallorca.

Alejandro Valverde wins one of the Trofeos (image: Movistar)

Alejandro wins one of the Trofeos with runner-up Robert Gesink and third-placed Sergio Henao (Image: Movistar)

He successfully defended his title in Ruta del Sol and might have fared better in the Volta a Catalunya were it not for a fall.

Valverde successfully defends Ruta del Sol title, flanked by Mollema and Van Den Broeck (image: Movistar)

Valverde successfully defends his Ruta del Sol title, flanked by Bauke Mollema and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Image: Movistar)

He was Mr Consistent in the Ardennes Classics, twice finishing on the podium and this week he’s racing in the Tour de Romandie in preparation for his next assault on the Tour de France followed, probably, by the Vuelta a Espana.

So let’s give him a helping hand blowing out the 33 candles atop his VeloVoices chocolate birthday cake.

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