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Gallery: Warming the engines for the Vuelta a España start

With the highly anticipated prologue of the Vuelta a España set to begin on Saturday, the teams took the opportunity on Friday morning to familiarise themselves with the TT Assen circuit.

A veritable cathedral of motorsport, the TT Assen circuit - one of the oldest on the Moto GP World Championship - will play host to the opening of the Spanish Grand Tour, as 198 riders set off on a 4.5km hot lap.

With race organisers busy with final preparations and overall favourites including Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) on course, Fotoreporter Sirotti was there to capture all the action in the Netherlands.

 

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde takes a spin around the TT Assen circuit. He's unlikely to look this relaxed on Saturday evening.

The finishing chute for the Vuelta's prologue in Assen. Expect to see a sea of orange in the stands on Saturday.

Ivan Basso sits amongst his Liquigas teammates in the Assen pits.

The finishing chute for the Vuelta's prologue in Assen. Expect to see a sea of orange in the stands on Saturday.

The TT Assen circuit's corners are renowned for their grip, even in the wet. They might not go quite as quick as the motorised machines, but there will be some fast times laid down on the famed tarmac on Saturday.

Click here for a gallery of images as the Vuelta's contenders take a sighting lap of Assen's Grand Prix circuit.

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