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Valverde kicks off 2015 race season in Mallorca

Alejandro Valverde, Dan Martin, and Andre Greipel will all begin their 2015 race seasons in Mallorca Spain's four-day event

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished 2014 at the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings, will start his season Thursday in Mallorca, Spain at the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca. The 34-year-old will be joined by other notables, such as Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel.

“It would be nice to get our first victory of the season in Mallorca,” said Lotto-Soudal sports director Bart Leysen. “The riders know the Spanish roads well because of their training camps. The first and last day are suited for our sprinters André Greipel and Jens Debusschere. Greipel didn’t start his season, for the first time in seven years, in the Tour Down Under. So he is extremely motivated to get his first victory of the season in Mallorca.”

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) are also expected to start their racing seasons in Mallorca.

The second day of racing, Friday, may suit a rider like Valverde or Martin, as it finishes on a steep climb that ramps up to 10 percent at some points. Stage 3 is also quite hilly, with three second-category climbs.

The four-day event in Mallorca does not award a GC prize and is not a stage race, which may encourage more aggressive racing. Riders are not required to race each day, and teams may field different eight-man squads day-by-day — essentially, the event is four one-day races held in the same region.

Challenge Ciclista Mallorca

Thursday, January 29: Trofeo Santanyí-Ses Salines-Campos (175.5km)
Friday, January 30: Trofeo Andratx – Mirador d’Es Colomer (149km)
Saturday, January 31: Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. Valldemoosa-Deià (165.7km)
Sunday, February 1: Trofeo Playa de Palma – Palma (168.2km)