'Bala' to skip cobbled races
Spanish champion from Movistar Team switches to ‘Giro d’Italia preparation’ mode, avoids Flemish classics
Alejandro Valverde and the Movistar Team have decided to modify the 2014-15 UCI WorldTour winner’s calendar for the first part of his 2016 season.
The 35-year-old Spaniard, 15th today in Milano-Sanremo, will not be present at any of the Flemish spring classics –including the Ronde van Vlaanderen on 3 April–, choosing instead to start altitude training as soon as next week. The Vuelta a Castilla y León (15-17 April) and the Flèche Wallonne / Liège-Bastogne-Liège (20 / 24), won three times each by the current National road race champion, will be his only competitions before the Giro d’Italia (6-29 May), where the Murcia-based rider has put all of his hopes for the coming months.
“Tirreno-Adriatico and the pace this race has given to Alejandro have made him look towards the Giro even more excited than he already was – and we all are as eager as him to do well there,” admits Movistar Team general manager Eusebio Unzué. “That’s why we both agreed it was better to change his race program, so he tackles the first Grand Tour of the year with focus and calmness, with the best physical condition possible, yet not avoiding two races – Flèche and LBL – where we both have got great results during the last decade.”
Valverde’s absence at the cobbled classics will be effective already at the three races the Movistar Team will cover in Belgium next week: Dwars door Vlaanderen (Wednesday 23), E3 Harelbeke (Friday 25) and Gent-Wevelgem (Sunday 27). For all of them, Chente García Acosta will be directing an eight-man roster formed by Andrey Amador, Nelson Oliveira, Jasha Sütterlin, Fran Ventoso, Juanjo Lobato, Carlos Betancur, Antonio Pedrero and Jorge Arcas.