Unzué, Quintana, Valverde define goals for new season after five days full of events in the Castillo de Gorráiz hotel
The Movistar Team's new project for 2016 took its first steps forward this week in the Castillo de Gorráiz hotel near Pamplona, Spain, where the telephone squad's 27 riders and its full staff gathered for technical meetings, tests and presentations by some of the Blue squad's main partners.
At the end of the events and following a celebration dinner on Thursday, where Pablo Lastras was paid a tribute in form of standing ovation while all team members received a replica of the 2015 UCI WorldTour winners' trophy, the two big leaders of the Movistar Team -Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde- explained, together with general manager Eusebio Unzué, some of its main goals for the 2016 season.
It will be a year with plenty of new additions to Valverde's race schedule, the Spaniard riding his maiden Giro d'Italia as well as several classics in the spring -including his first-ever Ronde van Vlaanderen- before joining Quintana for the Tour. "The idea is focusing on those one-day classics to reach the Rio Olympics in fresher condition – it will be another of my biggest goals. This year will be a good occassion to try the Giro, which was a wish from me for many years, and I also liked the idea of riding some cobbled races like De Ronde." The four-time UCI World number one cyclist will be present in only one spring stagerace: "Tirreno-Adriatico looks like the most feasible, as it's located between Strade Bianche and Sanremo, which are both on my calendar."
Quintana will be seeking again for the #SueñoAmarillo after two runner-up titles in the 2013 & 2015 Tours de France. "My main personal goal will be again" the Grande Boucle. "I've got more responsibility on my shoulders this year while I'm more experienced to face that challenge. We'll seek for some early form in San Luis before riding some other stageraces like the Volta a Catalunya or the Vuelta al País Vasco, important both for the team and for myself. Alejandro will be a huge support for us all in the Tour, after completing quite an interesting calendar." Following the Tour and the Olympics, the Colombian will presumably ride the Vuelta a España.
"After so many years as pro, we through it was a good opportunity this season for Alejandro to ride the Giro," says Unzué, "though we depend on Telefónica's choice – they don't usually argue about our decisions, but this is a choice we need their approval on. We've been suggested many times to try and ride more and more classics with Valverde, and even though he does many every season, the first part of his schedule will be all around them. We think that, with help from team-mates, he'll be able to do very well in the pavé, possibly the thing standing out the most in his calendar. Regarding Nairo, after what he did in 2015, the idea is keeping the Tour as his main, primary goal – he's already shown he's more than capable fighting for overall success."