By Antonio J. Salmerón
There are some big-named riders that have already confirmed their participation the Spanish three-week race, such as Carlos Sastre, who finished fourth in the Tour de France, but others are still doubt. Although, with regards to the Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, the decision to race seems probable.
"Valverde felt well during the last week [of the Tour]. After having passed through some bad moments during the long time trial in Albi, so there is hope to see how he has recovered in these days before confirming his participation," Unzúe expressed today to Cyclingnews.
"After confronting the Clásica de San Sebastián on Saturday [August 4]," Unzúe stated as the time to announce whether Valverde would start in the Vuelta, where he finished second overall last year. "Valverde will go to reinforce Caisse d'Epargne in its objectives, without any doubt."
Unzúe confirmed the participation of Oscar Pereiro, Vladimir Karpets and Luis León Sánchez, among others, but not his young hope José Joaquin Rojas, "who has already raced in the Giro d'Italia."
Unzúe was pleased with the Tour de France. "I was satisfied with the work done by Caisse d'Epargne." However, he admitted that, "we had wanted to win a stage." With respect to the performance of Valverde, the highest classified Caisse d'Epargne rider (sixth), the DS from Navarre did not mince his words. "There were better rivals than our leaders. ... Valverde was not so good.
"Valverde knows what is to finish the Tour and, in this way, has gained the necessary maturity to confront the Tour in 2008 with greater chances of success," Unzúe concluded.