Valverde to miss Vuelta?

According to his local newspaper, Alejandro Valverde is likely to miss next month's Tour of Spain in

According to his local newspaper, Alejandro Valverde is likely to miss next month's Tour of Spain in

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According to the Opinion de Murcia newspaper, Tour de France stage-winner Alejandro Valverde is almost certain to miss next month's Tour of Spain. The paper cites sources close to the Murcia-born and based rider, who had to quit the Tour de France during its second week because of tendonitis in his left knee.

The Opinion de Murcia reports that the medical team on Valverde's Illes Balears squad had hoped that Valverde's knee problem would clear up in time for him to be ready for the Vuelta, but they are now likely to discount this option. It is felt that the speed and stress of another three-week stage race would be too much for Valverde, who has finished third and fourth in the last two editions of the Vuelta.

Illes Balears' main objective for their team leader are the world championships in Madrid at the end of September. With defending champion Oscar Freire's health and form in doubt at the moment, Valverde is regarded as Freire's natural successor as the Spanish team leader. However, it is recognised that the Madrid circuit does not suit Valverde, as it is widely believed to favour top class bunch sprinters.

Nevertheless, following his beating of Lance Armstrong at the Courchevel summit finish at the Tour, Valverde is now the biggest name in Spanish cycling and his presence in Madrid is regarded as vital. Opinion states that he is likely to delay his return to racing until the end of next month, but that it will be at a shorter race than the Vuelta.

The Tour of Britain perhaps?

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