By Monika Prell
Even as rumors and allegations involving Alejandro Valverde circulate, the Murcian star is busy with his preparation for the Tour de France. Thursday he rode with some of his teammates who will support him in the Tour, including climbing the Plateau de Beille, the final ascent of the Queen stage in the Pyrenees set for July 22.
Caisse d'Epargne's Tour de France team consists of Óscar Pereiro (second last year with final results still pending), strong climbers Joaquím Rodríguez, Fran Pérez, and Xabier Zandio, the young Luis León Sánchez, who could aim for the white jersey, and Frenchmen Florent Brard and Nicolas Portal.
The team will also check out other mountains that could be decisive in this year's edition. Friday, they were set to ride more than 100 kilometers and scale the Col de Mente, the Col de Balès, and the Col du Peyresourde, all part of stage on July 23. Saturday, they head to the Col d'Aubisque.