By Antonio J. Salmerón
Alejandro Valverde and fellow Spaniards José Joaquín Rojas and Fran Pérez will lead the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears in the next Vuelta a Murcia, that will take place from March 7-11. Apart from Valverde, Gilberto Simoni and Koldo Gil of Saunier Duval,have also confirmed their participation in the Spanish race. The race was nearly canceled over funding issues, but found new life when television rights were ironed out.
The Vuelta a Murcia 2007 will consist of five stages. The first stage will be run between San Pedro del Pinatar and Las Torres de Cotillas (166 kms). Stage 2 will start in Totana and finish in Fortuna (162 kms), and will include the Alto de Espuña and the Collado Bermejo (1st category climbs). On Friday, stage 3, from Puerto Lumbreras to San Pedro del Pinatar (146 kms) is followed by a time trial, and the final stage will run from Ceutí to Molina de Segura (142 kms).