Madrid - Jakob Fuglsang will on Wednesday make his first appearance on the road since being linked with disgraced doctor Michele Ferrari when he defends his Vuelta a Andalucia title.
Fuglsang, a 34-year who rides for Astana, won the event last year at the start of a late-blooming spring in which he also won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.
The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation opened an investigation into an alleged visit by Ferrari to Fuglsang but earlier this month admitted that it had no case no case against the Dane.
Ferrari was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for his relationship with the disgraced Lance Armstrong, and Fuglsang has denied meeting the Italian.
Fuglsang has decided to launch his season on the 687-kilometre tour also known as the "ruta del sol".
The race will start on Wednesday in Alahurin de la Torre, just inland from Malaga, and, after four hilly or mountainous stages, ends on Sunday with an individual time trial in Mija.
Astana's squad will also include Basque rider Ion Izagirre, who finished second in last year's race.
Spanish team Movistar could offer strong competition led by Enric Mas (25) and Marc Soler (26).
Mikel Landa is also making a comeback, following a training crash at the start of the month as he makes his debut for his new team Bahrain.