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Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde was looking chilled out at the start.
Suspended rider joins former teammates in Mallorca
Alejandro Valverde is keeping fit with his former Caisse d'Epargne teammates in Mallorca. The currently suspended Spaniard has joined a training camp of Team Movistar, the new squad managed by Eusebio Unzue that came out of Caisse d'Epargne.
Valverde, sidelined from competition until the end of this year for his implication in Operación Puerto, was integrated with the team camp on February 2 after getting the green light from Unzue. "I'm very happy to be here and get in the kilometres with riders from the team, on top of taking part in the team's life," Valverde told Spanish media.
"To be able to spend these days with them is important to maintain the impression of being part of a group. The feeling of belonging is very important to me. After all this time without seeing them, the first meeting was phenomenal."
Even though he still has to wait one year before he can make his comeback in the peloton, the Spaniard looks forward to it with motivation. "The most important thing now is to not lose rhythm and to have the best possible preparation when I'll be able to compete again. To be here in Mallorca with other teams and to see that everybody is with me also motivates me a lot. It helps me to work more and better."
In fact, Valverde's form is as good as any other European pro rider at the moment. "Even though I haven't raced for a while, my form is on a good level, almost the same as last year when I came here to prepare the 2010 season," he said.
Watching his former teammates and riders of other squad participate in the Mallorca Challenge, Valverde was hopeful that his personal training camp would help him remain focused throughout the year. "I will come out of this training camp more motivated to continue training before returning to competition. Once the weather is less cold, I will work out a bit in altitude as I used to do in previous years."