Madrid - Veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde came down with a last-minute
virus and has pulled out of the Paris-Nice cycle race which gets
underway on Sunday.
The eight-stage 'Race to the Sun' is a key early season test and has
recently been won by Tour de France champions Alberto Contador and
The evergreen Valverde, 36, won both the Tour of Murcia and the Tour
of Andalusia last month and remains a podium contender on the Grand
While still a team leader, he is set to chaperone Colombian climbing king Nairo Quintana on the Tour de France this season.
Victor de la Parte takes Valverde's place in the eight-rider Movistar
line-up, which won the Paris-Nice team classification last year.