My guess is he will if he feels good cause if he's good he probably won't run into a better counter from Pog or LopezNice attack from him today. As long as he doesn't have a bad day like last year, the podium is his.
I don't expect him to do an attack from real far out. That's not his style in this type of race, but you never know.
Yes the course is in my home region and like you say it doesnt have the altitude metres of climbing that would make him a main contender, its more for the classics guys like Sagan and Van Avermaet. However its not an easy course by any means and with a distance of 285km I would say Valverde is an outsider.
His sprint is worse though.He would be one of the outside favorites. The course appears similar but a little harder than Richmond was and he finished 5th at Richmond. So he has a chance to do well on it.
His sprint is worse though.
I think he's all in on the Vuelta this year while last year he kept an eye on the Worlds during his Vuelta prep
The Grand Tour top 10 record also looks to be taken without any trouble at all.I think you may be correct that last year he felt was his last real shot at the Worlds and he may feel this is his last real shot at getting one more Vuelta win or even getting that record breaking 7th Vuelta podium.
1 more podium in any Grand Tour and he breaks the Spanish official Grand Tour podium record that he shares with Indurain at 8 and ties Contador's unofficial record at 9.The Grand Tour top 10 record also looks to be taken without any trouble at all.
And if he indeed finishes second it would only be his fourth top 2 in a GT, so it's still an unusually good result for him, not factoring in his age.
In comparison, the 9th place in the Tour was only his 18th best GT GC result.