Valverde on track for Tour

Although he missed out on the last stages of the Tour de Suisse after abandoning because of a throat...

Although he missed out on the last stages of the Tour de Suisse after abandoning because of a throat infection, Illes Balears' Alejandro Valverde has "good feelings about the Tour" according to Spanish newspaper AS. After stage four of the Swiss pre-Tour de France test, Valverde had a light fever. "It wasn't very important," he said, "but my team director Eusebio Unzué decided that it was better to take me out of the race. With my body working to fight off the infection, it was better not to make efforts that I might have paid for afterwards," Valverde explained.

The Spanish Tour de France hope has been getting back to training yesterday, and is hopeful his form will be satisfactory for July. "During the race, I felt better than I had actually hoped for. Of course, I still have to increase my level of fitness before the Tour de France," Valverde conveyed. "I thought that I would lack the rhythm of competition in Switzerland [season's break - ed.] but on Monday I found myself with the seven or eight best riders going flat out in front. I could have tried to win that stage, but there was a descent before the finish and I didn't want to risk anything. But being right inside the fight gave my the confidence that I'm doing well."

The young Spaniard would have liked to continue the race. "There were some stages with very hard stretches that would have been a good training for the mountains of the Tour. And people to measure up with, like Ullrich, who's already very lean. There will be great fight in France!", Valverde reckoned. In the meantime, besides training, the 25 year-old will compete in the Spanish Championships taking place in his home region of Murcia. "It is my dream to win it on home ground," Valverde continued. "Then, at the Tour, my intention is to get to know the race, gain experience, help our team leader Mancebo and try for a stage win."

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