By Antonio J. Salmerón
Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider Alejandro Valverde has dedicated his victory in the Criterium of Murcia to his deceased teammate Isaac Gálvez. Visibly stunned by the sad news that occurred in the Six Days of Gent, where Spanish track rider Isaac Gálvez (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) died, the forty professionals participating in the Criterium on Sunday discussed whether the race should take place, but finally decided that the best way to honour Gálvez was to offer a great cycling spectacle. The peloton thus observed a minute of silence before starting the race.
"It has been a great blow, and we have even questioned the celebration of this criterium, but I believe that we guessed right with Isaac Gálvez's desire to carry on," Alejandro Valverde told El Faro de Murcia.
The second place rider in this year's Giro d'Italia, José E. Gutierrez, along with the 2006 UCI ProTour runner-up, Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi), Xavier Florencio, Oscar Sevilla (T-Mobile), local riders Luis Leon Sanchez and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Astana) and Jose Luis Martinez and Claudio Casas (Comunitat Valenciana), all took part in this Criterium of Murcia, organised by Alejandro Valverde. The Murcian won the race, followed by Samuel Sanchez and José Luis Martínez.
Next season, the Spanish Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader will do the same calendar as in 2006, except for the Tour de Romandie, "because it was good for me", but does not discount the possibilty of participating in the Vuelta, "depending on my results in Tour of France." In this sense, Valverde left open the possibility of facing two of the three Grand Tours. Regarding his return to the classics in March and April, Valverde assured that, "I will compete without pressure, because I already know what it feels like to win." Valverde will of course also participate in the Vuelta a Murcia, "where I will play a role similar to 2006."