Spanish climber to strengthen home WorldTour outfit, looking forward to show own quality and leave behind long streak of injuries
The Movistar Team contines to build a strong roster for 2018, and after confirmed signings of Mikel Landa, Eduardo Sepúlveda, Jaime Rosón and neo-pro Jaime Castrillo, the Blues are adding Rafa Valls (Lotto-Soudal) to their lineup for next season.
The climber from Cocentaina in Alicante (1987) will fulfil his tenth professional season in 2017, and comes back into a Spanish outfit after covering the last six years in Dutch (Vacansoleil), Italian (Lampre) and Belgian (Lotto) squads. Long hampered by injuries, Valls has still been able to ride two Giro d’Italia, two Vueltas a España and four Tours de France. At the ‘Grande Boucle’, Valls was close to a stage win in his debut (2010), only beaten by Sylvain Chavanel at the mountain-top finish of Les Rousses.
Victor of a stage in the 2010 Tour de San Luis and winner of the Queen stage and the overall classification of the 2015 Tour of Oman, ahead of Tejay van Garderen and future team-mate Alejandro Valverde, the last two seasons by Valls were completely overshadowed by misfortune. A hip fracture in August prevented the Spaniard from starting the 2017 Vuelta a España, his main goal for a season where he took 7th in the Tour Down Under and 10th in the Critérium du Dauphiné.