Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde of team Caisse d'Epargne has held an official reception in his home region prior to the Tour de France. The 26 year-old, who will be starting at the French Grand Tour wearing the white jersey of best ProTour rider, considered that this "will be one extra motivation" to do well.
Valverde admitted that, "I am one of the favourites and hope to finish within the six or seven first riders on general Classification, as well as getting at least one stage victory." The winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne this spring came back to competition in the Dauphiné Libéré, which added to his overall tranquility when facing the next challenge.
"I will need to complete the whole Tour, something that I hope to do this time, because I'm a little better that in 2005," he said, adding that, "the Italian Ivan Basso is the main candidate to win the Tour, but there are others like Ullrich, Mancebo, Vinokourov, Popovych and myself..."
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón