By Antonio J. Salmerón
Vuelta winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) will join local rider José Enrique Gutiérrez (LPR), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), Óscar Freire (Rabobank), and Ivan Basso (Discovery Channel) at the 65th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana slated for February 27 through March 3.
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, which will be shown on regional television, covers 774 kilometres over five stages. Of the 18 teams registered, 10 are Spanish.
The first stage stays local to Alzira during its162.7 kilometres and only ascends one third category climb, Barxeta. The second stage happens around Calpe, with 148.2 winding kilometres including one category one and two category three climbs; the Coll de Rates will play a decisive role in the outcome. The 151.8 kilometre third stage starts and finishes in Villa-Real, whereas Stage 4 connects Albaida and Vallada via a route including six climbs of the third category and one of first, the Alt of the Campello. The flatter, final stage starts and ends in Valencia.