Ruta del Sol preview + Volta ao Algarve
Movistar Team leader tackles first stagerace of the season in Ruta del Sol after three consecutive GC victories in the region in 2012-14
Alejandro Valverde will be again one of the biggest attractions in the Vuelta a Andalucía, whose 62nd edition in 2016 will mark the return of the Spaniard to an event he won three times in a row between 2012 and 2014. Together with the UCI's World No. 1 in 2015 will be the two stage winners from the Movistar Team last season, Andalusians Juanjo Lobato and Javi Moreno.
Rubén Fernández, Rory Sutherland, Dani Moreno and Imanol Erviti complete the group, conducted by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía into a five-day course (Wednesday 17th – Sunday 21st) that features a flat opener towards Sevilla; tricky finishes in Córdoba and Paul; a 21km individual time trial in Alhaurín de la Torre; and a tough decider in the Alto de Peñas Blancas (Cat-1) after another Cat-2 climbs in the province of Málaga.
On the same dates, José Luis Jaimerena will direct another eight from the Blues through the 42nd Volta ao Algarve. The Portuguese race includes two hilltop finishes -Fóia, on Thursday, and Malhao, closing the race on Sunday- and an 18-kilometer ITT around the Cabo Sao Vicente (Friday) as decisive points. Nelson Oliveira will be one of the local heroes present, with Ion Izagirre, Fran Ventoso, Andrey Amador, José Joaquín Rojas, Jorge Arcas, Alex Dowsett and Jonathan Castroviejo also into the Movistar Team's lineup.