By Antonio J. Salmerón
Organizers presented the 66th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana on Friday with a poster of Alberto Contador (Astana) and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne).
The relatively flat five-day Spanish race will be disputed between February 26 and March 1 and is expected to draw a noteworthy roster of sprinters including Daniele Bennati (Lampre), Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel (Team Milram) and locals Ruben Plaza and Javier Benitez (Lisboa e Benficra).
The first stage will take place in Sagunto over 157 kilometres. It includes two climbs: Oronet (third category) and Garb (first category). The second one will be carried out from Alzira to Xàtiva for 178 kilometres, and will have six third category climbs. The third "queen" stage will start and finish in Ibi, with 166.5 kilometres, and four climbs of the third category: Alto de Canali, Port Tudons, the Torremanzana and the Carrasqueta. 175.6 kilometres in Nàquera will mark the penultimate day before the finish in the capital city of Valencia in the 149.4-kilometre final stage.
Seventeen teams have committed including Astana, Euskaltel, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, Cofidis, Bouygues Telecom, Caisse d'Epargne, Liquigas, Team Milram, Lampre, Orbea, Andalucía-Cajasur, Grupo Deportivo Murcia, Lisboa e Benfica, Slipstream, Karpin Galicia and Extremadura.
Caisse d'Epargne's Antonio Colom won in 2007.