Catalunya winner back at Movistar Team's helm in his final WorldTour event before Ardennes. 'Bala' also racing GP Miguel Indurain
Following his brilliant second overall triumph -also including three stage victories- in last week's Volta a Catalunya, Alejandro Valverde will tackle his final stagerace before the spring's big goal in the Ardennes classics at the 57th Vuelta al País Vasco (UCI WorldTour), starting next Monday.
The 36-year-old Spaniard will head an eight-man Movistar Team that includes two of the squad's Basque members, Gorka Izagirre and Víctor de la Parte. The Spanish outfit's lineup is completed by Rory Sutherland, José Herrada, Rubén Fernández, Antonio Pedrero and Dani Moreno.
The Basque stagerace -which starts from Pamplona, the Movistar Team's headquarters- will offer a balanced route that features both sprinters' courses -on stages one (Sarriguren, Monday 3) and two (Elciego, Tuesday 4)-, rolling routes -finishing at picturesque capitals San Sebastián (Wednesday 5) and Bilbao (Thursday 6)- and mountain climbs on Friday 7 (a mountain-top finish in Arrate / Usartza) and Saturday 8, a 27km ITT defining the GC of the event in Eibar.
Two days before the start of the 'Itzulia', Valverde will also take part at the GP Miguel Indurain, a hilly classic entirely on Navarra roads -186km from Estella to the Basílica de Santa María del Puy-. De La Parte, Fernández, Herrada, Izagirre and Moreno will also prepare for País Vasco on the squad's home roads, joined by José Joaquín Rojas and Marc Soler.