Unzué, Valverde assess 2017 Vuelta route

12 January 2017
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Official presentation in Madrid

Movistar Team's general manager and 2009 Spanish grandtour winner & six-time podium finisher comment on the parcours confirmed on Thursday

Following the official presentation of the 72th Vuelta a España's route in Madrid's Municipal Conference Hall, Thursday evening, the Movistar Team – winner of last year's race with Nairo Quintana – offers quotes by Eusebio Unzué and Alejandro Valverde on the race starting on 19 August in Nîmes, France, and finishing in Madrid on 10 September. The Spanish rider couldn't attend the event after the training accident suffered yesterday, hit by a barrier near his home in Murcia“It's awful I couldn't be there, because I like to support the race and I make it there almost every single year, but considering the blows I suffered, the most reasonable thing was to stay at home and avoid a long journey out and back from Murcia. Where I'm hoping to be at is the start in Nîmes, on 19 August. My schedule is not completely defined, but a clear goal in mind for me is making the Vuelta team.”

Eusebio Unzué: An early look at the route makes us happy, especially with the fact that there's a TTT, which should never be missed on Grand Tours. It's a good way to kick off a route that starts ramping up right from the start, with the climbs of La Rabassa and La Comella into the Andorra stage and those three mountain-top finishes in Valencia before the first race day. You feel like the race will get exciting from the very start.

"The second week, with those three uphill finishes on Alps-like climbs, will clear things up very much GC-wise – top, pure climbers should be leading the standings after that. We must also keep attention to the heat in those days in Andalusia; it's proven to be a key factor in previous editions.

"The third week will be even more important. First up, there's the Los Arcos to Logroño ITT, a special day for us as we will be racing home in the Navarra roads. Then, another two mountain-top finishes, and the always demanding Cantabria hills. And at the end, L'Angliru, a final, hellish chance for those who still want to conquer the race. I feel like it's a Vuelta route even harder than in previous occassions, and I'm sure it'll be spectacular.

Alejandro Valverde“It looks like a really demanding Vuelta a España. Some people will probably say they shot completely off the mark, and for those like us who are suffering it on the bike it will be even more of a challenge, but I understand and prefer to have it this way. At the end of the day, fans want spectacle, and with this route, I'm confident the race will be really attractive for them."

"You'll have to plan your training schedule well and peak early, because those three mountain-top finishes in the first week will take a big share in the overall result. For the climbs on week two – I know them really well, they're really demanding and high altitude combined with the slopes will make a big impact. That will pay off a lot when entering the Cantabria stages, and also L'Angliru, famous for its incredible ramps. It's a climber's course, no doubts about that. No place for TT specialists who climb just well; not even for sprinters, because some stages, like the one in Murcia, are mountain ones even if they don't finish uphill. The fact that the race goes through my region makes it even more special."