RR / ITT Nat-Champs preview
Movistar Team lines up 24 of its riders across ten national races in Europe, from Thursday to Sunday
With the only exceptions of the Quintana brothers and Andrey Amador, all Movistar Team riders will travel to their respective home countries this week to take part in the national road race and time trial championships, held every year in the days prior to the Tour de France.
Most of the Blues -17 in total- will be at the Bierzo, in the northern province of León, to ride the Spanish championships in Ponferrada, over the same courses that will hold the Worlds in late September. Alejandro Valverde, Jesús Herrada, Ion Izagirre, Imanol Erviti, Beñat Intxausti and title holder Jonathan Castroviejo will cover the 47km ITT course (Friday, 4.30pm local). The six will be joined by Lastras, Gutiérrez, José Herrada, Rojas, Ventoso, Sanz, Moreno, Plaza, Lobato, Gorka Izagirre and Antón for the ‘queen’ event: the 200-kilometer, 12-lap road race on Sunday (9.30am local), where the youngest of the Herrada brothers will defend his ‘rojigualda’ jersey.
Three-time British national TT champion Alex Dowsett will open the Blues’ round of competitions on Thursday (official start time: 8pm), with the 42km individual time trial in Monmouthshire (Wales); the 186km road race will also see the 25-year-old put on a race number on Sunday (1pm). Also doubling will be young German Jasha Sütterlin, starter on both races in Baunatal/Edermünde -44.4km TT on Friday (7.30pm local), 206km RR on Sunday (9am local). Polish Sylwester Szmyd (222km, Sobótka, Sunday at 12pm local) and Frenchman John Gadret (251km in Futuroscope, from 10.30am on Sunday) will only take part in the road races, while the Italians will divide: Eros Capecchi and Giovanni Visconti are confirmed for the road race on Saturday (220.5km in Malè, 10.45am local), while Adriano Malori will roll down the TT ramp one dy later as one of the biggest favourites (41km, 1pm local).