The UCI World Tour rolls into Spain tomorrow for the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, with some of the world's best stage race riders lining up at the start line to put their endurance qualities on the line after the one-day excitement of Milan-San Remo on Saturday. All 18 Pro Tour teams will be present when the 138km stage one gets underway in Calella and will be accompanied by five wildcard teams.
Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins will be amongst the favourites following his historic victory at Paris-Nice earlier this month. The 31-year-old became only the second Briton (after Tom Simpson in 1967) to win that race since its inception in 1933 and will continue his preparations for his assault on the Tour de France in the Spanish province.
He is joined there by Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), second across the line in the last three stagings of the Tour de France, and the man who has been awarded the 2010 race following Alberto Contador's disqualification. Further rivals to Wiggins in the seven-stage event include Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who has returned from suspension with a bang this year and won the race in 2009, and Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who has also been in excellent early season form.
The 92nd Volta a Catalunya concludes with its seventh stage on Sunday March 25 in the Catalan capital of Barcelona.
23 teams for the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Ag2R La Mondiale
Nicolas Roche (Irl)
Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra)
Romain Bardet (Fra)
Ben Gastauer (Lux)
Mikael Cherel (Fra)
Sebastien Minard (Fra)
Anthony Ravard (Fra)
Amir Zargari (Iri)
Astana Pro Team
Janez Brajkovic (Slo)
Paolo Tiralongo (Ita)
Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz)
Robert Kiserlovski (Cro)
Egor Silin (Rus)
Francesco Gavazzi (Ita)
Alexandr Dyachenko (Kaz)
Sergey Renev (Kaz)
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