Valverde to make 2019 debut at Challenge Mallorca

The organisers Playa de Palma Challenge Mallorca have confirmed that six WorldTour teams will race the series of four one-day races in late January, with world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) making his season debut on the Spanish island, alongside Mikel Landa and other major riders looking for a European start to their 2019 campaigns.

The four races will be held between January 31 and February 3, with teams able to swap riders for the different races. The four race routes are hillier than in recent years with the opening race to Felanitx finishing atop the climb of Puig de Sant Salvador.

The Andratx Trophy-Lloseta rolls up and down the northern coast, while the Serra de Tramuntana Trophy finishes above Soller after 2,800 metres of climbing. Even the final Playa de Palma Trophy race includes a late climb before the dash to the finish in Palma.

Bauke Mollema told Cyclingnews he would begin his season in Mallorca, with the race organisers confirming that Trek-Segafredo, Movistar, Lotto Soudal, Bora-Hansgrohe, Katusha-Alpecin and UAE Team Emirates will be on the start list. Team Sky will not ride in the 2019 Challenge Mallorca.

Race organisers claimed that 2018 double race winner John Degenkolb will be part of the Trek-Segafredo line-up, alongside Mollema. Fabio Aru and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) have also confirmed he will make his season debut in Mallorca, with organisers suggesting that he will be joined by Dan Martin.

Other names mentioned by race organisers include previous winners Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) but teams have still to confirm their line-ups and full race plans for the early season.

Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the Challenge Mallorca series.

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