Valverde leads Blues into last race of Asian tournee; youngsters hope to keep shining in southern Portugal
With the only exceptions of Sutherland, Dowsett -in various phases of their injury recoveries-, Anacona, Nairo Quintana -both in Colombia- and Gadret, all Movistar Team riders will put on a backnumber during the racing week that starts on Tuesday. As well as the Vuelta a Andalucía – Ruta del Sol, the telephone squad will focus on two other races: the 6th Tour of Oman (2.HC) and the 41st Volta ao Algarve (2.1), two attractive races for a squad which has ammassed an impressive 32 top-ten finishes in 31 appearances so far this year.
On Arabian soil, Chente García Acosta will direct a group identical to the one that also made its debut in Qatar last week. Alejandro Valverde will certainly have a shot at the top places as the route offers two difficult routes -with climbs to Al Jissah (Wednesday 18) and Bousher El Amerat (Saturday 21)- plus a very demanding, mountain-top finish in the Green Mountain (stage four; Friday 20). Fran Ventoso, José Joaquín Rojas, Pablo Lastras, Jasha Sütterlin, Imanol Erviti, Andrey Amador and Enrique Sanz will join him.
In turn, José Luis Jaimerena will be at the helm of a really young group -its eight riders average exactly 25- on Portuguese turf. Ion Izagirre, Marc Soler, Dayer Quintana, Jesús Herrada, Adriano Malori, Igor Antón, Jonathan Castroviejo and Rubén Fernández will seek for top spots in the Algarve region, with plenty of opportunities between the Alto do Malhao (Saturday 21), the complicated finish in Monchique (stage two; Thursday 19) and the 19km ITT to the Cabo Sao Vicente (Friday 20).