Valverde quit the race with around 100 kilometres to go, with TV images showing the Spanish star pulling over to the righthand side of the road and getting into a team car.
Valverde’s abandon came after Deceuninck-QuickStep and Team Sky accelerated hard on a flatter section of the race before the ascent of the Cote de Mont-le-Soie and as rainy weather continued to lash the event, briefly splitting the race.
The reigning world champion has been a shadow of his former self in the Ardennes Classics this year, finishing well down on the leaders in Amstel Gold, finishing eleventh in Flèche Wallonne, in which he swallowed a bee. This is his first failure to finish in Liège-Bastogne-Liège since 2012 when he was disqualified after going off route by mistake.
Valverde is the second former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège to quit Sunday’s race after Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) quit at the first feed.
More to come…
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