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Challenge Illes Balears (Volta a Mallorca) opens Spanish season

By Shane Stokes

Some of the world's top professionals will get their seasons underway over the next few days in the Challenge Volta a Mallorca; five 1.1 events linked by an overall classification. The format of the race allows the riders to pick and choose which races to ride, ensuring a huge pool of entrants from some of the biggest teams in the sport.

The lineup is headed by last year's victor David Bernabeu, who will be fronting the Fuerteventura-Canarias team born out of the ashes of the Communidad Valenciana squad. Other big names include Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), Tom Boonen and Peter Van Petegem (Quickstep Innergetic), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Erik Zabel (Milram), Stefan Schumacher and 2006 stage winner David Kopp (Gerolsteiner), David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas).

In all 11 ProTour squads are part of the 21 team lineup, namely Astana, Caisse d'Epargne, Rabobank, Quickstep Innergetic, T-Mobile, Milram, Liquigas, Discovery Channel, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Gerolsteiner.

Read the full Challenge Illes Balears preview here.

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