Quick-Step Floors Team to Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert will be among the eight riders to start their season at the Spanish race.
The 68th edition of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana is set to kick off with a long team time trial, on an in-and-out rolling course in Orihuela, a city settled by the Romans. Of the following four stages, two are likely to end up in a bunch sprint, one should bring the puncheurs to the fore, while the most important in the final outcome of the general classification will be stage 4, scheduled on Saturday.
The peloton will start from Segorbe and head out to Mas de la Costa, where the climbers who've lost time on the opening stage can go all in to recover the deficit and make an important step towards winning the 2.1 race. Mas de la Costa – who was a stage finish at last year's Vuelta, isn't a long climb (around four kilometers), but is brutal and overly steep, having an average gradient of 12.4% and ramping up to 23% in some sections.
Quick-Step Floors' team for Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will comprise David De La Cruz, the sole home rider to win a stage and wear the leader's jersey at the 2016 Vuelta a España, Laurens De Plus, Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Dan Martin – who won the uphill stage to Fredes at the previous edition – Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra.
Given the team's depth and experience, sport director Tom Steels awaits the start of the Spanish event with confidence: "Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will be a hard race right from the beginning, as a difficult TTT is on the cards on stage 1 and the gaps could be significant. This stage, together with the penultimate one, will be decisive for the GC. We are going there with a good team, all the riders are motivated and I'm sure we can do well in this race, and why not, get a stage victory."
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