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Spanish Championships - CN
Cuenca, Spain, June 29-July 1, 2007
By Hernan Alvarez
Spain's national championships will start on Friday 29 in Cuenca. It will be the first national titles since 2005 after riders boycotted last year's professional event due to the Operacion Puerto investigation. Cuenca is a city where people are used to watch cycling in its peculiar streets and where the Vuelta a España has travelled many times.
The competition will start with the Time Trials on Friday. The first will be the elite women race (20.4-kilometre parcours). Defending champion Eneritz Iturriaga won't take part so Maribel Moreno, Gema Pascual and Marta Vilajosana are the favourites to take the national title. In the 36 km men's Under 23 event, defending champion Javier Chacon, Javier Iriarte, Jose Manuel Ballesta, Pedro Palou and Hector Gonzalez are the favourite riders for the triumph. Imanol Erviti, Luis Leon Sanchez and Jose Ivan Gutierrez are the big names to contest the 46.6 km elite men's TT while reigning champion Toni Tauler won't return to defend his title.
Saturday morning will see the women's road race run over 108 kms, starting in Villanueva de la Jara. The Under 23 route will be contested that afternoon, starting in Villamayor.
The 189.4 km elite men's road race is scheduled for Sunday morning, commencing in Cuenca. The starting list is full of big names including Oscar Pereiro, Alejandro Valverde, Francisco Mancebo (2004 champion), Iban Mayo, Koldo Gil, David Arroyo and Jose Manuel Garate, who is the 'defending champion' having won the event in 2005.