Alejandro Valverde has renounced the Vuelta in favor of the World Championships. Not a shocker in some senses... most Tour contenders would have a hard time getting up for the Vuelta a mere five weeks later. And while Valverde is Spanish, his interest in the Vuelta has always been a bit muted. He showed up last year only after crashing out of the Tour very early. His only other participation was in 2004 (though in 2005 he was hurt).
I love this move: Valverde is one of a handful of grand tour wannabe's who haven't done as well as their massive talent would suggest. The other name that comes to mind is the Kid Cunego. Both of these guys are absolutely ideal classics riders, combining a climber's pedigree with blazing speed on the home stretch. The Grand Tours seem to suck the oxygen out of the sport at times, and I'm sure more than a few of us would prefer that the classics share the spotlight equally. Maybe this is the start of Valverde's realization that he should focus on the races best suited to him: one-day events. And whatever happens in grand tours is pure gravy. Cunego should get the same memo.