Caisse d’Epargne will line up as defending champions of the Vuelta a España, but will start Saturday without its champion.
Alejandro Valverde is serving a two-year ban for his role in the Operación Puerto doping scandal and will not be lining up for Saturday’s team time trial in Sevilla.
Instead, his Caisse d’Epargne team will bring a solid squad led by Giro d’Italia runner-up David Arroyo and Luis León Sánchez.
Arroyo was the big surprise of the 2010 Giro and will have pressure on his shoulders to match the result with a solid performance in the Vuelta.
Sánchez, however, has already admitted he will be hunting for stages and won’t worry about an overall position in the final GC when the Vuelta ends September 19 in Madrid.
Also missing from Caisse d’Epargne is Colombian climber Juan Mauricio Soler, who has been struggling with health problems. By missing the Vuelta, the former winner of the climber’s jersey at the Tour de France will not have raced a grand tour in 2010.
Instead, compatriot Rigoberto Urán will be looking to confirm solid performances throughout the 2010 season.
Caisse d’Epargne for Vuelta a España: David Arroyo (Spa); Marzio Bruseghin (Ita); Imanol Erviti (Spa); José Vicente García Acosta (Spa); David López (Spa); Luis Pasamontes (Spa); Rubén Plaza (Spa); Luis León Sánchez (Spa); Rigoberto Urán (Col)