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Murcia attracts Zabriskie, Kirchen and Menchov

Alejandro Valverde after winning the 2008 Vuelta a Murcia

Alejandro Valverde after winning the 2008 Vuelta a Murcia (Image credit: Susanne Goetze)

The Vuelta a Murcia will have some of cycling's top riders for the 29th edition, March 4 to 8. The organiser announced that USA's David Zabriskie, Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen, Russian Denis Menchov and Italian Stefano Garzelli will race the Spanish stage race.

Organiser Francisco Gúzman unveiled the route and the teams for 2009 yesterday in Las Torres de Cotillas, Spain. There will be a maximum of 11 teams participating. Confirmed are ProTour teams Caisse d'Epargne, Rabobank, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Garmin-Slipstream and Columbia-High Road, and Professional Continental teams Andalucía Cajasur, Contentpolis AMPO and Xacobeo Galicia.

The first stage of the five-day race will start in San Pedro del Pinatar, where ocean winds could be a factor. Gúzman explained to Cyclingnews that the second stage from Torres de Cotillas appears to be the hardest mountain stage, or the queen stage, but it is the fourth stage. There will be a time trial in Pedro del Pinatar on the third stage. The fifth stage will finish in the region's capital city of Murcia.

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, from the region, won the 2008 edition of the race. It was his third win and added to victories in 2007 and 2004. (AS)