After the young Spaniard beat record-breaking Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in a final sprint to win stage 10 atop the Courchevel at the 2005 Grande Boucle, Lance described Valverde as the "future of cycling." One year down the line Valverde more than lived up to the billing with a dominant 2006 season that earned him the UCI ProTour title. In the spring Alejandro completed an astonishing Ardennes double winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege and La Fleche Wallonne in the same week. After a doping controversy purged the Tour de France of its best contenders, Valverde suddenly became the race favourite before injuring himself and being forced to drop out of the race in the first week. The Valve then nearly made a winning return in the season's final Grand Tour, losing the battle of the Alex's to finish second behind Alexandre Vinokourov in a dramatic Vuelta a España. Valverde again came up just short at the world championships, earning the bronze medal behind sprint kings Paolo Bettini and Erik Zabel. This season Valverde will once again be a threat to win nearly every race he enters.