Valverde makes surprise Movistar return at Vuelta

Updated: 

Less than two months after breaking his knee cap at the Tour de France, Alejandro Valverde was back riding with Movistar on Monday.

The Spaniard was forced to abandon the Tour following the individual time trial in Dusseldorf on July 1 after crashing heavily in wet conditions.

Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta a Espana champion, underwent emergency surgery to repair the fracture, having also sustained a deep cut in his leg.

After five days in hospital the 37-year-old returned home and was not expected to be back on a bike again this year.

However, Valverde was alongside his Movistar team-mates during their rest-day ride at the 2017 Vuelta, albeit with his knee heavily taped.

"Good morning sharing kilometres with my team-mates," he posted in Spanish on Twitter.

"Good luck for the rest of the Vuelta."

Movistar lead the team classification at the final Grand Tour of 2017, but they do not have any riders in contention for the individual jerseys - with Nelson Oliveira their highest-placed general classification rider at four minutes and 50 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome.