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Valverde returns and Landa debuts with Movistar in Mallorca Week

Ⓒ AFP/Archivos – Luk Benies – | Spanish cyclist Mikel Landa celebrates with champagne his victory in a stage of the Tour of Italy on May 26, 2017 in Piancavallo

The Spanish Alejandro Valverde, recovered from a serious fall suffered in the Tour de France of 2017, returns to the competition this week in the cycling Challenge of Mallorca, where he will be accompanied by his compatriot Mikel Landa, star signing of Movistar.

Valverde, 37, had not returned to compete since the double fracture (patella and talus), which suffered in the first stage of the Tour on July 2 in the German city of Dusseldorf.

His return will be one of the main attractions of this Mallorcan test ‘a la carte’ that traditionally inaugurates the cycling season in Europe.

“With much desire to start,” Valverde wrote in his official Twitter account, in reference to the Balearic competition.

Also known as the ‘Week of Mallorca’, this test consists of four independent ‘trophies’. Cyclists can participate in all stages or only in some or some of them.

The relief of the second and the third stage could allow Valverde, five times winner of the Flecha Valona and four times winner of the Liège-Bastoña-Liège, to work his pedaling towards the great Belgian and Dutch classics.

The Murcian will be supported for the first time by Landa, 20, a talented climber who should form along with Valverde and the Colombian Nairo Quintana a fearsome trio at the Tour de France in 2018.

In Mallorca, the Movistar competition will be embodied by the Sky’s armada (Kwiatkowski, Moscon, Poels), or the Dutch cyclist Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).

As for the first and fourth Mallorcan ‘trophies’, on Thursday and Sunday, they seem more appropriate for the sprinters, although at the outset there are few of them announced.

– Mallorca Week Program:

Thursday: Campos-Porreres-Felanitx-Ses Salines Trophy, 177.7 km.

Friday: Serra de Tramuntana Trophy (Soller – Deia), 140.1 km.

Saturday: Lloseta-Andratx Trophy, 165.8 km.

Sunday: Playa de Palma Trophy – Palma, 159.6 km.

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