Movistar’s director Eusebio Unzue says that while the team’s leader, Alejandro Valverde is in great shape for this year’s Vuelta A España, his rivals Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank) are in better condition. Valverde has won two stages in addition to the team’s victory in the opening team time trial but Unzue says he will still lose time during the 39.4km individual test on stage 11.
"Both Froome and Alberto are a little higher, especially for the time trial, however the question is which of the two will be better? But Contador gets better," said Unzue to Deia.
While lacking race days this year, Contador remains Unzue’s favourite for the overall title when the race finishes up in Madrid in just under two weeks time.
"To me, [Contador] has more going for him than the rest and is still the favourite," he said.
"The mountains come next weekend, and along with the time trial on Wednesday, it's time to really evaluate the differences among the best."
Valverde has already completed a heavy schedule of racing this year in his first season back since serving a doping suspension and this may see him fall off the pace as the race continues. Valverde’s season began in Australia at the Tour Down Under, where he took his first win on stage 5 and has continued to race through till the Tour de France and Olympics - before coming to the final Grand Tour of the year.
"Valverde will go step by step but we cannot rule out the appearance and symptoms of fatigue. He has already accumulated about 70 days of competition this season," said his Movistar team.