Cycling's spring takes off
Quintana, Valverde back at full steam as spring offers plenty of opportunities for all main Movistar Team references
Saturday's Strade Bianche will mark the start of what traditionally is the densest season of races for the Movistar Team every single year. 24 races form a spring which will start and finish in Italy, as the Giro, which travels back to the Netherlands with its start in the province of Gelderland, receives Alejandro Valverde's long-awaited debut in the Corsa Rosa with Eusebio Unzué's squad.
The UCI's World No. 1 in 2015 will be in Siena to seek for a victory to discharge him of pressure after consecutive podium finishes in 2014 and 2015. The Spaniard will also surely feature prominently at Tirreno-Adriatico, prelude to a rich schedule of classics that includes the Ronde van Vlaanderen -also his maiden participation- and the Ardennes classics, a trio on which he's already the main star of his generation, despite not having won Amstel yet.
Before 'De Ronde', and exactly one month after the Colombian Championship -where he ranked in 4th place-, Nairo Quintana looks forward to surprising again on one-week stageraces. Volta a Catalunya (21-27), Vuelta al País Vasco (4-9 April) and Tour de Romandie (26 April-1 May) will be the three main stops for the 'Cóndor' of Boyacá in his first main form peak of the season.
At the first classic Monument of the season, Milano-Sanremo -which goes back to its traditional Saturday spot (19 March), Juanjo Lobato will be searching for glory, probably more calm than in his infructuous 2015 attempt. The man from Trebujena will test his legs at Paris-Nice (6-13), where Jesús Herrada and Ion Izagirre, second-placed finishers in both Haut Var and Algarve, will lead the Blues' GC chances. The increasingly recovering Spanish schedule -Estella, Amorebieta, Castilla y León, Asturias, Madrid- completes a spring season full of passion and interest for the Blues.