After a seven-year hiatus since the 2008 edition - won by then Benfica and current Lampre-Merida rider Rubén Plaza - the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is returning to the UCI ranks. The 2001 Vuelta a España winner, Ángel Casero, and his brother and fellow former professional rider Rafael are the masterminds behind the comeback of this race, which has a "a 99 per cent chance" of happening in 2016.
The race is set to take place from the 3rd to the 7th of February as a five-stage event. The route is still currently being worked out, and it depends mainly on the commitment of the different regional entities of the Comunitat Valenciana, but the plan is to feature a summit finish, a hilly stage, a 15-kilometers time trial and a sprint stage in Valencia as finale. According to local newspaper Superdeporte, the race intends to have TV coverage and to regain the budget of 800.000€ it had back in 2008.
Cyclingnews contacted Ángel Casero to get further comment on his interest to reestablish the race. "Six years ago, when the Volta first failed to happen, I already tried to get involved and offered the then organisers some sponsorship I had arranged on my own. Unfortunately, none of the contacts went ahead," he explained. "This year, my brother Rafael and me decided to try again and found out with delight that politicians and businessmen from our region took our project with both hands. We already have many deals set and will have everything buckled up by December, 60 days before the race".
Despite being built from scratch, the race has been granted a 2.1 status by the UCI. "We’re grateful to the federations, because as a new event we should have been allocated in the 2.2 category but they conceded us the 2.1 straight away. That will enable us to assemble a very interesting field," Casero said. "We already met with some teams at the start of the Vuelta a España 9th stage in Valencia. They were happy to hear we were holding the race and expressed their willingness to take part in it".
The strongest point of this Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is the slot it has taken in the calendar. It fills in the void between the Challenge de Mallorca (28th to 31st of January) and the series of Southern Spanish races that make up the Vuelta a Murcia (13th of February), the Clásica de Almería (14th of February) and the Vuelta a Andalucía (17th to 21st of February).
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will offer an interesting follow-up for those teams that hold a training camp in the Balearic Islands in mid-January and use the Majorca races as a warm-up for the World Tour races of March.