Alejandro Valverde opted to forgo Wednesday’s Milan-Turin, citing illness, but the Movistar rider is expected to participate as planned in his final one-day races of the 2016 season, Il Lombardia on Saturday and next month’s World Championships road race in Qatar.
Movistar announced via Twitter on Tuesday that Valverde would miss Milan-Turin “due to a light illness and as a precaution”. He has been replaced in the Movistar line-up for the late-season Classic by recently-crowned European time trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo. Giovanni Visconti will lead Movistar on the road to the summit finish at Superga.
Valverde is one of the favourites to win Il Lombardia at the weekend, having placed 4th a year ago, and second in both 2014 and 2013. Six times a medallist at the Worlds but never a winner, he will also be among the leaders for Spain in Doha next month, though the course is expected to suit the pure sprinters.
The Movistar team has also announced contract renewals for four of its roster, with Imanol Erviti, Rory Sutherland, Winner Anacona and José Joaquín Rojas all staying with Eusebio Unzue’s squad in 2017.
Erviti will remain at the team for a 13th season, and he will be hoping to build upon his fine showings in this year’s cobbled classics. The Spaniard was aggressive at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and was rewarded by finishing 7th in the Ronde and 9th on the Roubaix velodrome a week later.
Sutherland returns for a third season at Movistar, and the Australian rode prominently as part of the team that helped Nairo Quintana to Vuelta a España victory recently. The Spanish road race champion Rojas broke his leg when he crashed out of the Vuelta on the penultimate stage, but he will hope to be back in action early in the 2017 campaign.
Winner Anacona has been at Movistar since the beginning of 2015, and should again be among Quintana’s key supporting riders in the mountains as he takes aim at the Tour de France.
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