Les Herbiers (France) (AFP) - Newly-crowned world champion Alejandro Valverde will not participate in the prestigious French time-trialling event the Chrono des Nations, organisers said ahead of Sunday's event.
Organisers had been hoping to attract the Movistar veteran, who at 38 years old achieved his dream of being crowned world road race champion last month, but have had to do without.
Instead, Italian Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 Tour de France champion, is the headline act -- although not necessarily a favourite for the 46 km race against the clock in Les Herbiers.
Defending champion Martin Toft Madsen (BHS Almeborg) of Denmark is among the favourites alongside Mikkel Bjerg (Hagens Berman Axeon), the recently crowned world under-23 time trial champion.
The race will also wave goodbye to veteran Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel, the 2014 champion who will retire at the end of this year.
Four-time world champion Tony Martin of Germany is among the big names to have previously triumphed in the French city, winning the event three years in succession from 2011-2013.