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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, November 22, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Alejandro Valverde to have late 2016 season start

Alejandro Valverde will begin his 2016 season at Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Flanders and the Giro d'Italia. The team confirmed this at Movistar's Pamplona training camp. Plans are to have Valverde "as fresh as possible" for the Olympic games at Rio de Janeiro.

Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde in the 2015 Vuelta a España

On the 35-year old Spanish racer's calender are Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-15), Tour of Flanders (April 3) and the Giro (May 6-29). He is also hoping to ride the Strade Bianche and Milano-San Remo.

"This year it's time to try the Giro, something I've wanted to do for years and I'm already excited to take on the cobbled classics such as the Tour of Flanders."

He will also ride the Tour de France in support of teammate Nairo Quintana to put the finishing touches on his form for the Olympics. It is likely that Quintana will also ride the Vuelta, which Valverde will probably skip.

Jurgen Van den Broeck looking for that old spark

After nine seasons with with Lotto-sponsored teams, Belgian racer Jurgen Van den Broeck moved to Katusha for 2016 with a one-year contract.

At one time Van den Broeck was the great hope of Belgian cycling. In 2001 he was the junior world time trial champion and the next year he won the Tour of Limbourg. He has four top-ten Grand Tour finishes, the last being fourth in the Tour de France in 2012. In 2015 he was the Belgian time trial champion.

He believes the change to racing in Katusha colors will revive his career. He said, "It was time to change. I no longer found the drive at Lotto...I think I can have as much of that drive as as few years ago, and my coach says that as well."

Jurgen Van de Broeck

Jurgen Van den Broeck racing at the 2015 Tour of Poland.

"Katusha believes in me. It motivates me greatly that guys like [managers] Azevedo and Ekimov still believe in me.

Van den Broeck will be given a free role at Katusha, except in some races. "I need to help [Simon] Spilak and [Joaquin] Rodriguez in the Walloon classics, but in the Grand Tours I can go for my own chances."

"We have not yet discussed which Tour I will ride... It was just time to change."

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary