Colombian granted Movistar Team’s leading role in Italy for the first time in a Grand Tour; Spaniard to chase Grande Boucle podium neglected last year. Both expected to race Vuelta a España
Movistar Team has decided the calendar its two leaders, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, will cover this year. The Colombian rider will tackle the Giro d’Italia as designated leader of the telephone squad, while Valverde will we carrying the Blue flag at the Tour de France. Excluding any physical troubles, both will be at the helm of the Vuelta a España roster at the end of the season.
Brilliant winner of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina –his first race of the year-, Quintana will spend the month of February in Colombia, where his first child will be born in few days’ time. After that, he will get back into racing in Spain with the Vuelta a Murcia and the Clásica de Almería, to later travel to Italy for Roma Maxima and Tirreno-Adriático. The Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta a Asturias will be his last stops before the Giro.
In turn, Valverde will debut next week in the Dubai Tour –Movistar Team’s first-ever Middle East appearance-. Mallorca, Andalucía, Murcia, Almería, Strade Bianche, Roma Maxima, Milano-Sanremo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Prijs Harelbeke, GP Indurain, País Vasco and Amorebieta will be his preparation for the Ardennes trio, while the Criterium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse will set him into condition for the Tour.
Movistar Team general manager Eusebio Unzué explains on the decision taken: “Personally, I don’t think taking Nairo to the Tour with his age, plus the pressure of improving last year’s result, is interesting for his future. I prefer to keep him growing into the formation period he’s still in and let him know the Giro, because we think it’s an extremely interesting race for him to progress on so many aspects, and where he will enjoy full leadership in a Grand Tour for the first time. Naturally, Alejandro’s presence into the squad also had its influence, having a solid leader for the Tour wit him. He has full backing from us – he’s earned it. He already proved last year that he was perfectly capable reaching the final podium despite that mechanical. The Vuelta? Both have time to recover from their efforts, and it’s a race that suit them both to perfection and which is also a priority for Movistar. I think this race schedule satisfies our sponsors, the race organisers and also offers chances on important races to other riders of our team who deserved to have them. Movistar Team is not just Nairo and Alejandro – our strength will keep residing there.”