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Valverde, Freire and Sánchez lead Spain's Worlds team

Gregor Brown
September 16, 2009, 17:53 BST,
September 16, 2009, 18:31 BST
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 17, 2009
Alejandro Valverde will be one of Team Spain's leaders for Worlds, September 27

Alejandro Valverde will be one of Team Spain's leaders for Worlds, September 27

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Spain sends star-filled team to Mendrisio World Championships

Spanish director José Luis De Santos announced today the nine-man national team for the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, September 27. Triple world champion Oscar Freire, Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez and current Vuelta leader Alejandro Valverde will lead the team.

We need "cyclists who are not only in the form at the moment, but with very specific characteristics," said De Santos. "We will encounter a course in Mendrisio more complicated than recent years, with more climbing than Liège-Bastogne-Liège. And, over very complicated and narrow roads."

Spain's road race team:
• Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
• Juan Manuel Gárate (Rabobank)
• Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
• Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne)
• Daniel Moreno (Caisse d'Epargne)
• Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
• Juan José Cobo (Fuji-Servetto)
• Carlos Barredo (Quick Step)
• Rubén Plaza (Liberty Seguros)

Valverde placed in the top three on three occasions at the World Championships. He was second at the 2005 Worlds in Madrid and 36th last year.

This year's circuit in Mendrisio is shorter than last year's 17.35-kilometre circuit in Varese, Italy. It has two climbs, Acqua Fresca and Novazzano, in 13.8 kilometres. It's repeated 19 times at 262.2 kilometres and 4655 metres of climbing.

"It is very selective and that is exactly what we like," Valverde told Cyclingnews.

Spain's time trial team:
• Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne)
• Hector Guerra Garcia (Liberty Seguros)

The time trial covers three 16.6-kilometre circuits for 49.8 kilometres. The 650-metre long Rancate climb is the main difficulty with sections of 10 percent.

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is the notable absence from the road team. He decided to end his season early after the Tour de France and skip Worlds.

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