By Antonio J. Salmerón
In the shadow of the Giro d'Italia, the Clásica de Alcobendas, will take place this weekend in the region outside of Madrid, and headlining the show for Caisse d'Epargne will be Alejandro Valverde.
Along with Caisse d'Epargne, the ProTour teams Euskaltel-Euskadi and Saunier Duval will take part in the event, along with the Spanish Professional Continental teams Fuerteventura Canarias, Andalucia-Cayasur, Karpin Galicia and Relax GAM, as well as Grupo Nicolás Mateos, Orbea and the Spanish national team. Foreign teams Selle Italia (Italy), Benfica (Portugal), Team Agritubel (France) and Barloworld (Italy) are also scheduled to participate.
The race consists of three stages - two road stages and one time trial - and will features some of the famous climbs of the Vuelta a España. On stage one from Alcobendas to Puerto de Navacerrada (170 kms) on Saturday, the peloton will confront the Paradilla and the Robledondo climbs, both third category, and the Puerto de Santa Maria de la Alameda, a second category climb, before finishing at the top of the Navacerrada climb (more than 1,800 metres).
On Sunday, there will be two stages. In the morning, the second stage will be a circuit around Collado Villalba (79 kms), followed by a time trial in Alcobendas of 9.7 kilometres. The last edition was won by Jan Hruska, with Vladimir Karpets and Spaniard Daniel Moreno (now on Relax GAM) were second and third.