Spanish star Alejandro Valverde, who dropped out of the Tour de France last month with a knee injury, may not be recovered in time for his country's national tour, the Vuelta a España (August 27-September 18).
Valverde's Illes Balears - Caisse d'Epargne team believed his recovery was going well until a training session last week.
"He was training in the high mountains with a view toward preparing for the Vuelta," team manager Esebio Unzué told As. "The first climbs went well, with a good rhythm. But when he tried to go harder in the final climb the knee became painful again. Not as badly as during the Tour, but enough that he had to stop."
Unzué added that the problem only shows up when Valverde attempts to ride hard - he can walk and even ride gently perfectly well and so has continued moderate training.
Nevertheless the August 27 deadline is looming. "We are now going to have him undergo some x-rays to confirm that the situation has not been aggravated," said Unzué. "W are going to let him rest the knee and recover this week, then we will carry out another test in the mountains and decide [whether he will ride the Vuelta] based on how he responds to that."