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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
Unzúe picks experienced team in quest for gold jersey
Caisse d'Epargne has named the team that will support Alejandro Valverde in his bid to win the Vuelta a España. As expected Valverde will be the focal point for the team's efforts as he embarks upon his first Grand Tour appearance of the year.
Team director Eusebio Unzúe has selected an experienced squad to support Valverde's general classification ambitions in the race. Almost all of the riders selected for the Vuelta team have already ridden alongside the former Spanish champion this season at his overall race victories in the Volta a Catalunya, Dauphiné Libéré and Volta a Burgos.
Spaniards Xavier Zandio, Imanol Erviti, David López, Daniel Moreno, Francisco Pérez, Joaquím Rodriguez and veteran professional José Vicente García Acosta have all been named. Belorussian Vasili Kiryienka will be the only non-Spanish member of the team.
Despite being named in the team's original long list for the race, Óscar Pereiro missed out on selection. Pereiro recently hinted that he may retire from cycling altogether as he battles with fatigue and low motivation.
Valverde has finished in the top-five at each of his four Vuelta participations. He finished second to Alexandre Vinokourov in 2006, his best result in the three-week race.
The 2009 Vuelta a España begins on Saturday with a 4.5km prologue in Assen, the Netherlands. The race will be completed in Madrid on September 20.
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