Shorts: Valverde, Pascual, Sacchi

Valverde set to focus on Worlds, Quick Step offer to Giro mountains king, Spanish veteran to retire

Valverde set to focus on Worlds, Quick Step offer to Giro mountains king, Spanish veteran to retire


Alejandro Valverde is now almost certain to miss the Vuelta a Espa¤a after not being included on his Illes Balears team's provisional list of starters for the race, which beings on August 27 in Granada. Still troubled by tendonitis in his right knee that forced him out of the Tour de France, Valverde has been training, but not at full tilt. Illes Balears' directeur sportif Jos Luis Jaimerena told AS that "if he's not going there to win there is no point in him going at all". Valverde is now set to focus on September's world championships in Madrid.

- Quick Step, who are set to lose stage race specialists Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Jos Miguel Mercado and Jos Antonio Pecharroman at the end of this season, are reported to have offered a two-year contract to Giro d'Italia King of the Mountains Jos Rujano. The Venezuelan rider's boss at Colombia-Selle Italia, Gianni Savio, is hoping to hang on to Rujano by boosting the financial backing for his team and gaining entry to the ProTour.

- Comunitat Valenciana veteran Javier Pascual Llorente is set to retire from the sport after this Sunday's Subida a Urkiola in the Basque Country. Now 34, the former Kelme rider has been troubled by a knee problem since he crashed in last month's GP Villafranca de Ordizia and has already decided that he won't be fit enough to take part in the Vuelta, which was to be his send-off race. Although Pascual Llorente has said there is still a chance he might continue beyond the Urkiola race, he is more likely to have surgery on his knee to prevent further damage to it.

- Alessandro Petacchi is set to be joined by Fassa Bortolo team-mate Fabio Sacchi at Domina Vacanze next season. Sacchi has signed a two-year deal with the team run by Gianluigi Stanga, with whom he started his career at Polti.

This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
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