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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Movistar captain looks to repeat 2009 success
Alejandro Valverde is looking for his second victory at the Vuelta a Espana, after finishing second in the third Grand Tour of the year in 2012. He won the Spanish race in 2009, and can look back to seven individual stage wins, and four special jerseys at his home tour during his career.
In addition, Movistar will work to continue its streak of Grand Tour stage wins. It has won at least one stage in every race since the Giro d'Italia 2011, for a total of 16 stages in three years.
Valverde will be supported by Eros Capecchi, Beñat Intxausti, José Herrada, Javi Moreno, Sylwester Szmyd, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez and Pablo Lastras.
Valverde finished eighth overall in this year's Tour de France, and the Movistar team feels he has fully recovered from that race.
“We're looking for him to get a bit fresher for the start of the Vuelta, we already ruled him out of some early-season races, so he could stay strong in both the Tour and the Vuelta - that's why we're confident he'll keep up,” said team general manager Eusebio Unzue. “He will be our only GC leader, and will have a strong and balanced team by his side.”
Unzue played down the dangers of the Vuelta's 13 mountain stages and 11 mountaintop finishes. Although he said “Granada and the Angliru should play a significant role in the race - the other mountain-top finishes might not create such big gaps within the GC contenders,” he said.
“Just like in previous editions, the field of race favourites is big and strong. Nibali might be the most solid rider coming into the start, with his great palmarès in all three Grand Tours recently. Still, I think Alejandro and Purito will be close enough to make things difficult for him. Also, riders like Samuel, Colombians Urán, Henao or Betancur, who we will be putting an eye on, or Kreuziger, who is making a great season so far."