By Antonio J. Salmerón
Five times Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain visited the Vuelta in Cuenca yesterday - a perfect opportunity to ask the Spanish champion who was his favourite rider for the overall victory in Madrid. Indurain didn't have any doubts when he responded, "Valverde seems to be very concentrated on the Vuelta. He has demonstrated that he's very strong. Only Vinokourov could be able to beat him, but, after what we have seen today, Vinokourov has a lot of hard work ahead of him. Furthermore, we have to take into account that Valverde is on home turf."
Miguel Indurain warned that, "the last week of competition will be decisive for the overall classification." Indeed, the third week of racing one has as main difficulties two mountain stages finishing on the summits of Calar Alto and La Pandera respectively. In Indurain’s opinion, "both of them are very important for the GC."
But what did the Grand Tour specialist think about the time trial in Vaciamadrid? "It's not different to what happened before," he responded. Contrary to many people, Indurain think that there are "enough time trial kilometres" in the race, totalling more than 60 kilometres.
In addition to praising Valverde and Vinokourov, Indurain also had a word for Carlos Sastre (CSC): "He was able to finish both Giro and Tour, so now, in the Vuelta, it's normal that his performances will weaken during the third week of competition at the Vuelta," he added.