Vuelta a Murcia / Clásica de Almería preview
Valverde leads powerful 8-man squad at home, including Movistar Team's three Murcians; Juanjo Lobato to seek for glory in Almería after two previous runner-up finishes
The second weekend of february will bring nine riders from the Movistar Team back into action into two races on Saturday and Sunday. At the 36th Vuelta a Murcia, José Luis Arrieta will direct a strong seven-man squad fronted by big local hero Alejandro Valverde, also including Murcia's Rubén Fernández and José Joaquín Rojas plus Ion Izagirre, Jesús Herrada, Antonio Pedrero and Rory Sutherland. The 199km route from San Javier to Murcia's Gran Vía avenue includes the climbs of Aledo (Cat-3), Collado Bermejo (Cat-1) and Cresta del Gallo (Cat-3).
Sunday will bring the 29th Clásica de Almería, a hunting place for sprinters during the last few years as its 184km route towards Roquetas de Mar features only four minor climbs around a rolling, windy route. Andalusians Juanjo Lobato -two times runner-up in this race- and Javi Moreno will replace Herrada and Izagirre; Valverde, Sutherland, Pedrero, Rojas and Fernández will be back in action, with Arrieta as DS.