Schleck brothers, Denis Menchov, Mark Cavendish highlight Vuelta roster

Alberto Contador probably won't show, but the third-best man in the Tour, Denis Menchov, is signed up.

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The Schleck brothers, Denis Menchov and Mark Cavendish will lead an all-star cast at the 2010 Vuelta a España, which clicks into gear August 28 in Sevilla.

Vuelta officials are still awaiting word from Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, but he said Sunday “it’s unlikely” he will start the season’s third grand tour.

Andy and Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank), Tour podium-man Menchov and sprinting ace Cavendish are among the confirmed headliners for the Vuelta, which will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this summer.

Javier Guillén, director general of the Vuelta, said the 2010 edition will have a “magnificent level of participation.”

“We doubt Contador will come. He’s just finished the Tour, which was very hard for him,” Guillén said. “History has shown us that it’s difficult for the Tour winner to come to the Vuelta, even though Carlos Sastre did it (in 2008), something that we’re still grateful for.”

Other big names expected to start include Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha).

The official pre-race start list will be announced next week.

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