Valverde to miss Vuelta a Murcia as Movistar take COVID-19 precautions

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2022 - 72nd Edition — 2nd stage Betera - Torrent 172,1 km - 03/02/2022 - Alejandro Valverde (ESP - Movistar Team) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
(Image credit: Luis Angel Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency)

Alejandro Valverde will miss his home race the Vuelta a Murcia and the inaugural edition of the Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior as a precaution after his Movistar team recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases at last week’s Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Although Juri Hollmann and Einer Rubio both tested positive for COVID-19 at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Movistar continued in the race, with Enric Mas placing 4th overall and Valverde finishing 5th.

Jumbo-Visma, BikeExchange-Jayco and DSM all withdrew from the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana following confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their teams.

On Wednesday, however, Movistar announced that they would now withhold the riders who competed in Valencia from competition in Murcia on Saturday and in Jaén on Monday. The decision means that Valverde, who is in his final season as professional, will miss the Vuelta a Murcia, his home event.

The former world champion has won the Vuelta a Murcia on five occasions, three times as a stage race and twice in its more recent iteration as a one-day event.  

“Movistar Team confirms […] that, as a precautionary measure due to the current health situation, more notably the positive cases in its team in Valencia last week, they will not bring any of the riders lining up in the Vuelta CV to the Spanish one-day events to be held this weekend,” Movistar said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As a result of that, the Blues regret to announce Alejandro Valverde will not take the start of the Vuelta a Murcia nor the Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior, two events which, due to its special meaning and the fact that the former is held in his home region, are very much dear to him and ones he did not want to miss.”

Valverde is scheduled to compete at next week’s Ruta del Sol, which gets underway in Ubrique on Wednesday.

Movistar have yet to announce their line-ups for the Vuelta a Murcia and Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior, a new event that takes in gravel roads, but they confirmed that young Brazilian talent Vinícius Rangel would make his professional debut in Murcia.

The 20-year-old placed 9th in the under-23 road race at the World Championships in Leuven, and he also took overall victory at the Vuelta a Cantabria and the Vuelta a Salamanca.

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