Tom Dumoulin, Alejandro Valverde to kickoff 2020 campaigns at Valenciana

Spain's Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will see Alejandro Valverde, Tom Dumoulin, Philippe Gilbert and other stars launch their respective 2020 racing campaigns.

The 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will serve as the season-opener for a handful of pro cycling’s biggest stars, among them Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), and Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates).

The five-day race will provide an opportunity for GC riders to test their legs, and for teams to test their lead-out trains for heavy sprinters. And, like all early-season races, it’s an opportunity for fans to see their favorite riders debut in their new kits.

This year the race features three days for the sprinters, a day with rolling hills where breakaway artists can ply their trade, and a mountaintop finish, on the penultimate stage, to let climbers test their legs, in this season-opener.

That penultimate stage, a 156-kilometer stage from Calp to Altea, includes four categorized climbs, including the summit finish to Sierra de Bernia is likely to decide the overall.

The battle for the overall could see Valverde, Dumoulin, and Pogačar trade attacks with Ion Izaguirre (Astana), the defending champion. Valverde (Movistar), the 2018 world champion, will look for another general classification win, to add to his victories of 2004, 2007, and 2018. He will be joined by teammate Marc Soler.

Dumoulin will undoubtedly generate plenty of attention as the Dutchman makes his debut in the yellow kit of Jumbo Visma after joining the squad from Team Sunweb. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates), 3rd at the 2019 Vuelta a España, will open his 2020 campaign, and will have Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff, and American Joe Dombrowski with him.

The race’s three sprint stages will also showcase a battle between stars, as Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), one of the fastest sprinters on the planet, will have several opportunities to dash for the line. Looking to challenge Groenewegen will be compatriot Fabio Jakobsen (Deceunink-Quick Step), who will look to capitalize on his team’s strength in the three sprint stages.

Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal), will make his 2020 debut, after moving from Deceunink-Quick Step. Gilbert won the 2019 edition of Paris-Roubaix. John Degenkolb, a powerful and proven sprinter, will also line up in Lotto-Soudal kit for the first time, after transferring from Trek-Segafredo.

The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana will kick off with a 180km flat stage, from Castelló to Vila-Real, on Tuesday, February 4th.