Valverde to ride Route du Sud instead of Critérium du Dauphiné

Movistar have confirmed that Alejandro Valverde will not line up at the Critérium du Dauphiné, preferring instead to complete his Tour de France build-up at the Route du Sud later in the month.

Valverde has not raced since he finished second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April, and had originally been pencilled in to return to action at the Dauphiné, which gets underway this weekend. The Spaniard has recently undertaken a long block of altitude training at Sierra Nevada.

In a statement released on Thursday, however, Movistar confirmed reports that Valverde has opted out of the Dauphiné in favour of the Route du Sud, which takes place in the Pyrenees from June 20-22.

"Good shape acquired in his three-week, altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada, combined with the chance of inspecting the final ITT and all three Pyrenean stages in the Grande Boucle made Valverde change his calendar," read the Movistar communiqué.

In Valverde's absence, Movistar will be led by John Gadret, Beñat Inxtausti and Igor Anton – fresh from supporting Nairo Quintana at the Giro d'Italia – at the Dauphiné. The line-up for the Tour de Suisse (June 14-22), meanwhile, includes Alex Dowsett, Pablo Lastras and José Joaquin Rojas.

On Wednesday, the Giro winner Quintana confirmed that he would not be part of Movistar’s team for the Tour de France, which will be built firmly around Valverde's general classification ambitions.The veteran has enjoyed an impressive start to the season, winning Flèche Wallonne, the Ruta de Sol, Vuelta a Murcia, Roma Maxima and GP Miguel Indurain in the spring.

Valverde's best Tour finish was his 5th place of 2007, and he has placed 20th and 8th in the two editions he has raced since returning from a doping ban at the beginning of the 2012 season.

Movistar team for Critérium du Dauphiné: Igor Antón, Imanol Erviti, John Gadret, Iván Gutiérrez, Beñat Intxausti, Enrique Sanz, Sylwester Szmyd and Giovanni Visconti.

Movistar team for Tour de Suisse: Eros Capecchi, Alex Dowsett, Ion Izagirre, Pablo Lastras, Juanjo Lobato, Javi Moreno, Rubén Plaza and José Joaquín Rojas.

Movistar team for Route du Sud: Alejandro Valverde, Iván Gutiérrez, Jesús Herrada, Adriano Malori, Jasha Sütterlin, Jonathan Castroviejo, Sylwester Szmyd and Giovanni Visconti.

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