Alejandro Valverde, all-time GC win record holder with four titles, faces big field of contenders from Wednesday; Castroviejo, Oliveira and Carapaz's debut headline Algarve announcement
An interesting week full of attractive points starts for the Movistar Team as they head to the 63rd Vuelta a Andalucía and the 43th Volta ao Algarve, both starting on Wednesday. At the Ruta del Sol, Alejandro Valverde will attempt to improve his already record-setting four GC titles in a somewhat peculiar route schedule, with its two mountain stages coming early in Granada (Wed) and Mancha Real's hilltop finish (Thu), followed by a 12km ITT in Lucena, Friday, and sprint finishes for the weekend in Sevilla and Coín. Chente García Acosta will conduct a seven-man group completed by Gorka Izagirre, Winner Anacona, Rory Sutherland, Marc Soler, Jorge Arcas and Víctor de la Parte.
In turn, José Luis Jaimerena and José Luis Laguía will head an eight-rider roster in Portugal that includes locales Nuno Bico and Nelson Oliveira, as well as Alex Dowsett, Jonathan Castroviejo, Héctor Carretero, Carlos Barbero, Antonio Pedrero and Richard Carapaz, who will debut as a fully-fledged Movistar Team member. Algarve will offer a quite more traditional parcours, with two mountain-top finishes (Fóia, on Thursday 16, and Malhao, the race's decider on Sunday 19), two bunch kicks and a 18km ITT around the Cabo Sao Vicente in Sagres, on Friday 17.